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2008 Olympic Games Beijing - Men's 50 km walk



Host City: Beijing, China  
Date Started: August 22, 2008  
Date Finished: August 22, 2008  
    Venue(s): Beijing National Stadium, Beijing
Overview by IAAF    2008_olympic_stadium.jpg
The pre-Olympic leaders were world record breaker Nizhegorodov and Schwazer who had placed a frustrated third in the 2007 World Championships, after holding back on the advice of his coach. On this occasion Schwazer stayed in the lead pack of Nizhegorodov, Tallent, and Li Jianbo (CHN) until 40Km, by which time the Chinese walker had dropped back. The Italian broke away shortly after, moving 40 seconds clear by 45Km, and more than trebling that margin in the last 5Km. Tallent completed a Korzeniowski-like double to win silver six days after his 20Km bronze, while Nizhegorodov dropped one place from Athens. Behind him Garcia and Tysse raced through the field, Garcia having placed 11th at halfway, and Tysse 15th.
Summary by      
Poland’s Robert Korzeniowski had won this event in 1996, 2000, and 2004. But the greatest ever 50 km. walker had finally retired leaving the event open to the rest of the world. The favorite was probably Russia’s Denis Nizhegorodov who had set the last two world records, the most recent coming earlier in May 2008. Nizhegorodov was with the leaders throughout but was not strong enough to get away from the field. At 30 km. the leaders were Nizhegorodov, 2007 World silver medalist Yohann Diniz (FRA), Alex Schwazer (ITA), and 20 km. bronze medalist Jared Tallent (AUS). Diniz faded and withdrew shortly thereafter, the victim of the high heat (closing temps near 30° C. 80° F.) and humidity. Nizhegorodov fell back by 35 km., and Schwazer dropped Tallent at 42 km. Schwazer was by far the strongest at the end, winning by over two minutes, with Tallent adding a silver medal to his 20 km. bronze, and Nizhegorodov holding on for bronze.


Prior to this competition, the existing world and Olympic records were as follows:

World record Russia Denis Nizhegorodov (RUS) 3:34:14 Cheboksary, Russia 11 May 2008
Olympic record  Vyacheslav Ivanenko (URS) 3:38:29 Seoul, South Korea 30 September 1988

The following new Olympic record was set during this competition.

Date Name Nationality Time OR WR
22 August Alex Schwazer Italy 3:37:09 OR  
The men's 50 kilometres walk at the 2008 Summer Olympics took place on August 22 at the Beijing National Stadium

The qualifying standards were 4:00:00 (A standard) and 4:07:00 (B standard).

Men's 50km Race Walk

It was Schwazer at the start and Schwazer at the end as Italy's Alex Schwazer claimed gold in Olympic Record time after a grueling 50km Race Walk in Beijing's Olympic Park.

Schwazer, twice bronze in this event at the World Championships (in 2005 and 2007) and the third finisher at this summer's IAAF World Race Walking Cup in Cheboksary, took the early lead along with France's Yohan Diniz, the silver medallist last summer in Osaka. The pair led for 5km (22:40) before being overtaken at around 30 minutes by a pack led by Russian Denis Nizhegorodov and Australian Jared Tallent.

The lead pack then included Schwazer and Diniz, Nizhegorodov and Tallent, Jianbo Li of China, Adam Rutter of Austalia, and Yamazaki of Japan. Nizhegorodov took over the pace at that point, pressing the pace and dropping first Rutter, then Yamazaki and finally Diniz to reduce the pack to four.

This four would walk in the lead from 15km (1:06:07) to 40km, passing halfway (25km) in 1:49:00, well off pace to challenge Nizhegorodov's World record of 3:34:14 (set in Cheboksary in May) but close to Olympic record pace. They shared the lead, soaked up penalties (Schwazer was warned for a loss of contact, Tallent for bent knee, and Nizhegorodov for both, at various points in the race) and put distance on their pursuers.

Diniz, the last one dropped, was the first to crack. Suffering from stomach difficulties and cramps, he would occasionally stop, then resume walking. Finally he hopped the fence separating the spectators from the walkers, shortly after being passed by Grzegorz Sudol of Poland and Yamazaki. "The rhythm was very fast," he said. "I controlled myself until the 27th or 29th kilometre mark. Then I got a stomach pain and a hamstring strain. I just cracked mentally and physically."

Shortly before the 40km mark (reached in 2:54:36), the pack dropped Li. A lap later, Schwazer made his second bid for the win, this one somewhat more serious than the first. As he forced the pace, Tallent was the first dropped, then Nizhegorodov lost his grip on the determined Italian. Within another lap, Schwazer could see he had the race won, and as he passed his supporters on the course, he raised his right arm and flexed: "I feel strong."

His lead continued to expand until he reached the finish in a new Olympic Record of 3:37:09. The old record was 3:38:29 by Vyacheslav Ivanenko, set in 1988 in Seoul. Schwazer was weeping with joy when he crossed the line.

"I didn't want anything but the gold," he explained. "Last year I was disappointed because I was told to calm my expectations down and only go for the bronze when I should go for the gold."

"I was very relaxed for the first three hours. I was just waiting for the finish. I wanted to win so badly I had to stop myself from running."

"You only saw the race," he continued. "To win you have to work all year, and this year was excellent."

Behind him, Tallent, the 20km bronze medalist earlier in the week, re-caught and passed the flagging Nizhegorodov and strode in to the stadium for silver in a PB 3:39:27. Nizhegorodov held on for bronze in 3:40:14.

"It was amazing coming in to the stadium," said Tallent. The Bird's Nest was remarkably full with 91,000 spectators for a sparse morning programme including three decathlon events. "I heard a huge roar from the crowd. "

Nizhegorodov, the World Record holder in this event, was less pleased. "I feel very disappointed," he said. "I don't know why. I don't think I had any technical problems or mistakes. It's such a pity."

47 walkers finished the full distance, with five more disqualified and seven dropping out in the course of the race.

Parker Morse for the IAAF
50 km walk Men     Final 22 August      
Rank Mark     Athlete Country NOC Birth Date Records
1 3.37.09     Alex Schwazer Italy ITA 26 Dec 84  
2 3.39.27     Jared Tallent Australia AUS 17 Oct 84  
3 3.40.14     Denis Nizhegorodov Russia RUS 26 Jul 80  
4 3.44.08     Jesús Ángel García Spain ESP 17 Oct 69  
5 3.45.08     Erik Tysse Norway NOR 4 Dec 80  
6 3.45.21     Horacio Nava Mexico MEX 20 Jan 82  
7 3.45.47     Yuki Yamazaki Japan JPN 16 Jan 84  
8 3.46.51     Rafał Fedaczyński Poland POL 3 Dec 80  
9 3.47.18     Grzegorz Sudoł Poland POL 28 Aug 78  
10 3.47.45     Luke Adams Australia AUS 22 Oct 76  
11 3.48.12     António Pereira Portugal POR 10 Jul 75 NR
12 3.49.52     André Höhne Germany GER 10 Mar 78  
13 3.51.30     Mikel Odriozola Spain ESP 25 May 73  
14 3.52.20     Li Jianbo China CHN 14 Nov 86  
15 3.52.25     Jarkko Kinnunen Finland FIN 19 Jan 84  
16 3.52.38     Igors Kazakēvičs Latvia LAT 17 Apr 80  
17 3.52.58     Si Tianfeng China CHN 17 Jun 84  
18 3.52.58     Jesús Sánchez Mexico MEX 26 Oct 73  
19 3.54.47     Marco De Luca Italy ITA 12 May 81  
20 3.55.19     Antti Kempas Finland FIN 3 Oct 80  
21 3.56.47     Zhao Chengliang China CHN 1 Jun 84  
22 3.56.58     Luis García Guatemala GUA 13 Sep 74  
23 3.58.04     Mario Iván Flores Mexico MEX 28 Feb 79  
24 3.58.21     Serhiy Budza Ukraine UKR 6 Dec 84  
25 3.59.28     Fausto Quinde Ecuador ECU 13 Feb 76  
26 3.59.41     Santiago Pérez Spain ESP 15 Jan 72  
27 3.59.46     Oleksiy Shelest Ukraine UKR 27 Mar 73  
28 4.00.49     Eddy Riva France FRA 17 Mar 73  
29 4.01.37     Takayuki Tanii Japan JPN 14 Feb 83  
30 4.02.16     Nenad Filipović Serbia SRB 5 Oct 78  
31 4.02.32     Kim Dong-Young South Korea KOR 6 Mar 80  
32 4.02.45     Tadas Šuškevičius Lithuania LTU 22 May 85  
33 4.03.47     Hatem Ghoula Tunisia TUN 7 Jun 73  
34 4.03.52     Rodrigo Moreno Colombia COL 29 Apr 66  
35 4.06.30     Miloš Bátovský Slovakia SVK 26 May 79  
36 4.07.04     Xavier Moreno Ecuador ECU 15 Nov 79  
37 4.07.53     Konstadínos Stefanópoulos Greece GRE 11 Jul 84  
38 4.08.18     Tim Berrett Canada CAN 23 Jan 65  
39 4.08.32     Phillip Dunn United States USA 12 Jun 71  
40 4.09.00     Augusto Cardoso Portugal POR 13 Dec 70  
41 4.10.25     Mário José dos Santos Brazil BRA 10 Sep 79  
42 4.12.45     Ingus Janevičs Latvia LAT 29 Apr 86  
43 4.14.09     Andrei Stsepanchuk Belarus BLR 12 Jun 79  
44 4.15.16     Jamie Costin Ireland IRL 1 Jun 77  
45 4.18.32     Roman Bílek Czech Republic CZE 29 Sep 67  
46 4.20.07     Zóltan Czukor Hungary HUN 18 Dec 62  
47 4.21.26     Kazimír Verkin Slovakia SVK 27 Mar 72  
  DNF     Oleksiy Kazanin Ukraine UKR 22 May 82  
  DNF     Yohann Diniz France FRA 1 Jan 78  
  DNF     Trond Nymark Norway NOR 28 Dec 76  
  DNF     Donatas Škarnulis Lithuania LTU 21 Oct 77  
  DNF     Sergey Kirdyapkin Russia RUS 18 Jun 80  
  DNF     Adam Rutter Australia AUS 24 Dec 86  
  DNF     Peter Korčok Slovakia SVK 12 Aug 74  
  DQ     Artur Brzozowski Poland POL 29 Mar 85  
  DQ     Diego Cafagna Italy ITA 9 Jul 75  
  DQ     Colin Griffin Ireland IRL 3 Aug 82  
  DQ     Salvador Mira El Salvador ESA 23 Aug 84  
  DQ     Darius Škarnulis Lithuania LTU 21 Oct 77  




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