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2004 Olympic Games Athens - Men's 20 km walk



Host City: Athina, Greece  
Date Started: August 20, 2004  
Date Finished: August 20, 2004  
(Competitors: 48; Countries: 29)  
    Venue(s): Olympic Stadium, Athens Olympic Sports Complex Spiros Loues, Maroussi
Overview by IAAF    2004-athens-stadium.jpg
Pérez, the 1996 champion and world record holder (1:17:21) was slight favourite, ahead of Fernández and Deakes. These three, together with Zhu, and Brugnetti were the leaders at halfway. By the 16Km mark the leading pack was down to three, with Brugnetti and Fernández beginning to move away from Deakes. With 2Km to go they were three seconds ahead of the Australian. Brugnetti had won the 50Km World title in 1999, but moved down to 20Km because of the exhausting nature of the longer event and the perpetual presence of Robert Korzeniowski. He pulled clear of the Spaniard and eventually won by 20m. Of the top eight, only Brugnetti set a personal best.
Summary by      
The 1996 Olympic champion, Jeffersón Pérez (ECU), was the favorite, after having won the 2003 World Championships in a world record 1-17:21. But the event was won by Italian Ivano Brugnetti, who had started out as a 50 km. walker, but had moved down after winning the 1999 World Championships in that event. Brugnetti and Spain’s Francisco Javier Fernández entered the stadium almost together, but Fernández could not close the gap. Australian Nathan Deakes had some pre-race support and held on for the bronze medal, with Pérez placing fourth.


Prior to the competition, the existing World and Olympic records were as follows.

World record  Jefferson Pérez (ECU) 1:17:21 Paris, France 23 August 2003
Olympic record  Robert Korzeniowski (POL) 1:18:59 Sydney, Australia 22 September 2000

No new records were set during the competition.


The qualification period for athletics was 1 January 2003 to 9 August 2004. For the men's 20 kilometres race walk, each National Olympic Committee was permitted to enter up to three athletes that had run the race in 1:23:00 or faster during the qualification period. If an NOC had no athletes that qualified under that standard, one athlete that had run the race in 1:24:30 or faster could be entered.

The men's 20 kilometres race walk at the 2004 Summer Olympics as part of the athletics program was held through the streets of Athens with the start and finish at the Athens Olympic Stadium on August 20.

The Chinese trio of Han Yucheng, Liu Yunfeng, and Zhu Hongjun took an early lead as the race walkers had left the stadium, but their challenge never materialized. Han could not keep up with the leaders through the first lap and soon fell off the pace, leaving Liu and Zhu with a burden to defend their chances. Approaching the second and third lap, Spain's Paquillo Fernández soon joined the Chinese duo to toughen the pace and build a commanding lead over the rest of the field, followed by his teammate Juan Manuel Molina, Ivano Brugnetti, Nathan Deakes, African champion Hatem Ghoula, and overwhelming favorite Jefferson Pérez.

When Ghoula was given his first warning with a yellow card on possession at the 6k mark, the leading pack had been whittled down to eight. Halfway through the race and with only four laps to go, Fernandez, Brugnetti, and Deakes were the strongest chasers, forming a slightly tight group to decide on the medals. Perez, however, struggled to keep up the pace on the leaders by a ten-metre deficit with Zhu and 2000 Olympic silver medalist Noé Hernández following him.

Fifty minutes into the race, Brugnetti steadily turned to break away from the leading group with Fernandez and Deakes continuously chasing him to the front. While Hernandez was disqualified after the red paddle, Perez managed to bridge back to the leaders with only a few laps remaining, but eventually fell behind. This left with Brugnetti, Fernandez, and Deakes walking closely and swiftly towards the 18k mark, before the two Europeans zoomed past Deakes to gain a three-second lead going to the final lap. Brugnetti made a decisive move to put some distance ahead of Fernandez in the approach to the Olympic Stadium.

As Fernandez could not close the gap on the final stretch, a jubilant Brugnetti celebrated all the way to a superb finish, and savored his Olympic gold medal in 1:19:40, just five seconds ahead of the Spaniard. Behind the two European rivals, Deakes managed to hold on for the bronze with Perez placing to a disappointing fourth.
20 AUG 2004 General News

Men's 20km Walk Final

Athens 27 year old Ivano Brugnetti of Italy took the 20km Walk Olympic title here today following a superb race which saw him defeat Spain’s Francisco Javier Fernandez into second and Nathan Deakes of Australia into third.

24 years after the great Maurizio Damilano took the country’s third Olympic gold medal in the history of Race Walking (50km wins in 1950 and 1964) the 20km Walk Olympic title returns to Italy, courtesy of Brugnetti’s devastating kick in the last kilometres of the race.

Brugnetti’s finishing time of 1:19:40 is a new personal best for the Italian and former World champion at 50km; Fernandez clocked 1:19:45 for silver with Deakes another 17 seconds behind.

Former Olympic champion and World Race Walking Cup winner Jefferson Perez of Ecuador who was an overwhelming favourite for the title took a disappointing fourth place in 1:20:38.

Juan Manuel Molina of Spain was fifth in 1:20:55 and Hongjun Zhu sixth in 1:21:40.

“This is like a dream come true,” said Brugnetti following his performance. “Four years of hard work in training have finally paid off. I have always believed in my abilities. I knew I was in shape for winning a medal here but I honestly didn’t think that medal would be the gold one.”

The race resulted in a head to head between Brugnetti and Fernandez who were in the lead for virtually the whole of the race. The first of ten laps was covered in a relatively slow 8:11 with already the eventual medallists in the leading pack which still counted an impressive 40 athletes fifteen minutes into the race.

The Chinese challenge never materialized despite the trio of Yucheng Han, Yunfeng Liu and Zhu leading the athletes out of the stadium in the very first stages of the race. Soon team-leader Han who will also contest the 50km in Athens failed to keep up with the leaders leaving Yufeng and Zhu with the burden to defend the Chinese chances.

Following a second and third lap timed in 8:12 and 8:03 respectively, Fernandez toughened the pace and led Brugnetti, African champion Hatem Goula of Tunisia, Yufeng, Perez and Deakes, the Commonwealth champion, going into the 6th kilometre.

The leading pack was down to 8 walkers when Goula was shown the first yellow card. 38 minutes into the race Fernandez, Brugnetti and Deakes were three metres clear of Perez who was distanced for the first time.

With Fernandez being timed in 40:18 half way through the race it was now clear that Perez was struggling to keep up the pace. Four laps to go and the three eventual medallists had now gained a massive 10 metres lead over Perez with Zhu, the third Chinese, and Sydney Olympic silver medallist Noé Hernandez of Mexico just behind.

Fifty minutes into the race, Brugnetti made his first move to try and distance the rest of the field but Deakes wasn’t going to have it and the Australian kept up with the pace. Fernandez was temporarily two metres behind but the real surprise was Perez who was now eleven seconds adrift.

While Hernandez was disqualified after a third yellow card, Perez decided to make his move and gradually caught up with the leaders. Amazingly in less than three minutes, Perez was back in the front with the three leaders.

For a moment it looked like the Ecuadorian would easily take control of the race but that was not to last for long as Fernandez struck again with two laps to go. It was the end for Perez’s Olympic gold medal ambitions.

Brugnetti, Fernandez and Deakes walked shoulder to shoulder for the next kilometre before the two Europeans toughened the pace even more and had a three-second lead over Deakes going into the final lap. Perez was 20 seconds back!

The Italian’s decisive move came with one kilometre to go as Brugnetti gradually gained metre after metre over Fernandez.

Heading into the Olympic stadium Brugnetti was a good ten metres clear of Fernandez and started acknowledging the crowd and savouring his Olympic gold medal.
“I knew the gold medal would be mine if I managed to stay with Fernandez up to the last kilometre because he is not as strong as I am mentally in the finishing stages of the race.”

“This medal is the result of four years of sacrifices, hard work and stubbornness.”

A former 50km specialist who failed to perform at his best for the past four years, Brugnetti decided to concentrate only on the 20km race this winter following his third place finish at the Tijuana IAAF Race Walking Challenge.

“I came third behind the two greats Perez and Korzeniowski so I thought I may have a chance at the event."

“I honestly expected Perez to prove a stronger challenge and I still do not understand what happened. He may have had some problems during the race.”

“I have completely changed my training: before I used to work on my stamina for the 50km; this year I have worked more on strength. Hopefully this is only the beginning of a new era for me.”

The heat of the Greek capital didn’t seem to affect Brugnetti but on the contrary helped him perform at his best.

“I love the heat, I wish all races could be held in such hot cities. I was successful in Seville, which was even hotter, and Tijuana this winter so I believe the conditions were perfect for me today.”

Gracious in defeat, Fernandez acknowledged his friend’s victory today.

“I would have liked to win the Olympic title, but today Ivano was stronger. I can't but congratulate him for his performance.”

20 km walk Men     Final 20 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 1.19.40     Ivano Brugnetti Italy ITA 1 Sep 76  
2 1.19.45     Francisco Javier Fernández Spain ESP 6 Mar 77  
3 1.20.02     Nathan Deakes Australia AUS 17 Aug 77  
4 1.20.38     Jefferson Pérez Ecuador ECU 1 Jul 74  
5 1.20.55     Juan Manuel Molina Spain ESP 15 Mar 79  
6 1.21.40     Zhu Hongjun China CHN 18 Aug 83  
7 1.21.53     Vladimir Andreyev Russia RUS 7 Sep 66  
8 1.21.56     André Höhne Germany GER 10 Mar 78  
9 1.22.08     Aigars Fadejevs Latvia LAT 27 Dec 75  
10 1.22.19     João Vieira Portugal POR 20 Feb 76  
11 1.22.59     Hatem Ghoula Tunisia TUN 7 Jun 73  
12 1.23.08     Benjamin Kuciński Poland POL 1 Jun 82  
13 1.23.30     Marco Giungi Italy ITA 30 Oct 74  
14 1.23.33     José Alessandro Bagio Brazil BRA 16 Apr 81  
15 1.23.38     Takayuki Tanii Japan JPN 14 Feb 83  
16 1.23.52     Luke Adams Australia AUS 22 Oct 76  
17 1.24.07     Rolando Saquipay Ecuador ECU 21 Jul 79  
18 1.24.35     Omar Segura Mexico MEX 24 Mar 81  
19 1.25.10     Yevgeniy Misyulya Belarus BLR 9 Mar 64  
20 1.25.17     Tim Seaman United States USA 14 May 72  
21 1.25.20     Kevin Eastler United States USA 14 Oct 77  
22 1.25.36     Viktor Burayev Russia RUS 23 Aug 82  
23 1.25.53     Ivan Trotski Belarus BLR 27 May 76  
24 1.26.34     Luis Fernando López Colombia COL 3 Jun 79  
25 1.27.21     Liu Yunfeng China CHN 3 Aug 79  
26 1.27.38     John Nunn United States USA 3 Feb 78  
27 1.27.39     Valeriy Borisov Kazakhstan KAZ 18 Sep 66  
28 1.27.56     Gintaras Andriuškevicius Lithuania LTU 6 Jul 75  
29 1.28.02     Shin Il-Yong South Korea KOR 17 Feb 79  
30 1.28.18     Gyula Dudás Hungary HUN 20 Aug 66  
31 1.28.38     Moussa Aouanouk Algeria ALG 2 Aug 72  
32 1.28.49     Matej Tóth Slovakia SVK 10 Feb 83  
33 1.28.59     Lee Dae-Ro South Korea KOR 12 Mar 80  
34 1.29.06     Feodosii Ciumacenco Moldova MDA 27 Jan 73  
35 1.29.36     Andrei Talashka Belarus BLR 31 May 82  
36 1.30.15     Elefthérios Thanópoulos Greece GRE 22 Feb 75  
37 1.30.16     José David Domínguez Spain ESP 29 Jul 80  
38 1.31.13     Vladimir Parvatkin Russia RUS 10 Oct 84  
39 1.31.35     Predrag Filipović Serbia & Montenegro SCG 5 Oct 78  
40 1.32.18     Han Yucheng China CHN 16 Dec 78  
41 1.32.41     Park Chil-Sung South Korea KOR 8 Jul 82  
  DQ     Xavier Moreno Ecuador ECU 15 Nov 79  
  DQ     Robert Heffernan Ireland IRL 20 Feb 78  
  DQ     Noé Hernández Mexico MEX 15 Mar 78  
  DNF     Jiří Malysa Czech Republic CZE 14 Aug 66  
  DNF     Bernardo Segura Mexico MEX 11 Feb 70  
  DNF     Alessandro Gandellini Italy ITA 30 Apr 73  
  DNF     Yuki Yamazaki Japan JPN 16 Jan 84  




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