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2012 London Olympic Race Walk


Updated August 11, 2012

Racewalkers Pass Buckingham Palace

Racewalkers Wang Zhen and Li Jianbo Pass Buckingham Palace

Getty Images Sports / Ian Walton
Racewalkers will have their moments of sporting glory at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England as they race laps on a two-kilometer road race course at The Mall venue in front of Buckingham Palace.
How to Racewalk


Men's 20 Kilometer Race Walk: Saturday, August 4, 2012. Ding Chen of China set an Olympic Record of 1:18:46 The silver medal went to Erick Barrondo of Guatemala with a time of 1:18:57. The bronze medal went to Zhen Wang of China with a time of 1:19:25.

Men's 50 Kilometer Race Walk: Saturday, August 11, 2012. Sergey Kirdyapkin took gold and set a new Olympic Record of 3:35:59. Jarred Tallent of Australia took silver at 3:36:53. Si Tianfeng of China took bronze with 3:37:16.

Women's 20 Kilometer Race Walk: Saturday, August 11, 2012. Russian Yelena Lashmanova set a world record time of 1:25:02, beating the previous Olympic record holder Olga Kaniskina who took silver with 1:25:09. The bronze medal winner, Qieyang Shenjie, is the first Tibetan athlete China has ever fielded in the Olympics. There is no 50 kilometer race walk for women.


Race walking relies on judges to ensure that the walkers are adhering to the rules of what constitutes walking. These are judged by the human eye rather than by a camera or sensing device. Judges may give warnings or disqualify a racer. The definition is contained in IAAF Rule 230: "Race Walking is a progression of steps so taken that the walker makes contact with the ground so that no visible (to the human eye) loss of contact occurs. The advancing leg must be straightened (i.e., not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until the leg is in the vertical upright position."

There are two violations that can be called.

Creeping is the violation for having a bent knee during the forward phase of the stride.

Lifting is when both feet are in the air at the same time, as seen by the human eye.

The judge may show the racer a yellow paddle as a warning. For a blatant violation, a judge sends a red card to the chief judge. If a walker accumulates three red cards from three different judges, he or she can be disqualified. The chief judge can also disqualify the walker in the final stretch of the race for any blatant violations. In the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the presumed winner of the 20km, Bernardo Segura, was disqualified after the finish as he was getting a congratulatory phone call from the president of Mexico.

The Course

The walkers will make laps of a two kilometer road route that begins at the Mall, rounds the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace, out Constitution Hill and returning. While tickets are required for viewing at the Mall, spectators can watch along the Constitution Hill portion of the course. These can be accessed by Green Park Corner or Hyde Park tube stations.
Map of Race Walk Course .pdf

Olympic Results and Records

Men's 50 Kilometer Walk - 31 Miles
Olympic Record: Sergey Kirdyapkin set a new Olympic Record of 3:35:59 in London, 2012.
Previous Olympic Record: Beijing 2008 - Italian Alex Schwazer with a time of 3:37:09. Schwazer was dismissed by his team in the middle of the Olympics in 2012 because he tested positive for doping agent erythropoetin.
World Record: 3:34:14 Denis Nizhegorodov 2008

Men's 20 Kilometer Walk - 12.4 Miles
Olympic Record: Ding Chen of China set a new Olympic Record of 1:18:46 on August 4, 2012 at the London Olympic Games.
Prior Olympic Record: Robert Korzeniowski of Poland - 1:18:59 Sydney, Australia 2000 2000 Report
2008 Beijing: Valeriy Borchin of Russia won with 1:19.1.
World Record: 1:17:16 Vladimir Kanaykin 1985

Women's 20 Kilometer Walk - 12.4 Miles
Olympic Record: London 2012 - Yelena Lashmanova set a world record time of 1:25:02. Previous Olympic Record: Beijing 2008 - Olga Kaniskina of Russia with 1:26:31.
Previous World Record: 1:25:08 Vera Sokolova 1987

Person to Watch: Jared Tallent of Australia won medals in both the 20 kilometer walk (bronze) and 50 kilometer walk (silver) at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. He has been performing well in 2012 and will again compete in both events. His wife, Claire Woods-Tallent, is also representing Australia in the women's 20 kilometer walk.

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