Giant on the move
Race walking is style over substance
After watching the men’s nail biting, down-to-the-wire 20 km race walk, I’m still not convinced this sport belongs in the Olympics.
Athletics is about running fast, throwing far and jumping high. Walking is about twisting your body and trying to go fast while trying to go slow. It’s like swimming in a straitjacket.
Walking is the only discipline where style gets scored. Judges watch you race and warn, then disqualify you if you’re lifting, or if both feet leave the ground.
Who is lifting? Whoever the referees say so. And as with any event with a human element involved, the decisions will be subjective and often controversial.
This is completely counter to the principles of athletics where it doesn’t matter how pretty your style is because the clock just doesn’t care.
PHOTO: Valeriy Borchin of Russia walks toward the finish line of the men’s 20km walk of the athletics competition at the National Stadium during the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, August 16, 2008. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn