For WNBA players competing overseas this winter, the coronavirus outbreak didn’t only interrupt their seasons – it sent them hurrying home, racing against the global pandemic that has shuttered much of an anxious world. One of them: The Sparks’ Sydney Michaels, who was based for the winter in La Seu d’Urgell, Spain. A 24-year-old guard…Sparks’ Sydney Wiese, WNBA colleagues flock home amid coronavirus outbreak — Press Telegram
For WNBA players competing overseas this winter, the coronavirus outbreak didn’t only interrupt their seasons – it sent them hurrying home, racing against the global pandemic that has shuttered much of an anxious world.
One of them: The Sparks’ Sydney Wiese, who was based for the winter in La Seu d’Urgell, Spain. A 24-year-old guard from Phoenix, Wiese saw the outbreak hit Spain fast, and hard.
She’d only started hearing that the coronavirus outbreak was causing cancellations of schools and universities in the country on Tuesday, March 10. By the next night, her Liga Femenina league was suspended (the NBA paused play hours later).
The following morning, Wiese awoke to texts, emails and notifications: President Donald Trump had announced a travel ban from Europe. (American citizens and legal residents would be permitted to come home, but there was uncertainty about the parameters immediately after Trump announced the policy.)
“By late morning Thursday, I had a flight booked for the next day, and would be home before the ban was initiated,” Wiese wrote in an email a week later. “My club (AE Sedis Basketball) was incredibly understanding, sad for all of us that this was taking place, but health was top priority, and they supported my decision to get on home.”
On Friday, March 13, Wiese flew from Barcelona to Mexico City and then to L.A.
“As I was traveling, my town in Spain was placed on lockdown and there was talk about shutting down the Barcelona airport by the end of the weekend,” she said. “By Monday, Spain was on total lockdown and has been this entire week.”
As of Friday, March 20, Spain has logged 21,510 coronavirus cases, the second-most in Europe beside Italy. More than 1,000 people in Spain have succumbed to the disease.
“I was on my way home right on time,” said Wiese, who was met with long lines and confusion upon re-entering the United States, her experience aligning with those of many travelers who also rushed home from abroad.