London 2012 Olympic Games
Mens 20km, Saturday, 4th Augusr 2012.
The Mall, London
The weather was warm, even hot at times with a slight breeze, but most importantly - no rain!
Race walking in the UK is a bit of... "what's race walking then???" This evening an event in The Mall showed the UK and the world what race walking is all about.
The ticketed area was sadly undersold (even at #20.00) but word had it that the "free" area along Constitution Hill was jam packed . The race was as good as any road cycle race. It was , in fact, a road cycle race on legs... the break away... the chase... the bridging of the break away.. the changing of the lead walker.. it was not until that penultimate lap that we know who would be the winner. Chen knew who it would be as he did a few hi5s down the course on hs last lap.. perhaps a little arrogant...
All in all an absolute feast of sport. Just add another "0" to the 20km and you would get 200km and a Centurion race!!
And there in the mix was our own Centurion Dave Ainsworth on the commentary (now how cool is that!). Neil Carmody (not a Centurion but a well known race walker in the UK) as Assistant Judge - he stopped by for a chat before the start... and plenty of Centurions dottied the course.. Simon and Mo Cox over from the Isle of Man, Ed Shillabeer, Peter Ryan, Kathy Crilley, Bob Dobson (overseeing the drinks stattion). Other race walkers spotted - Dave Hoben, Peter Hannell, Mike Hurran , Alan O'Rawe, Greg Smith ....
It was an amazing race ending with an Olympic Record from the Chinese walker Din CHENG in 1:18:46.
Sadly no British walkers (why? given as host nation we could have put any number of athletes into any event) but the crowd proudly saluted every walker of every nation as they raced rounf the 10 laps in fornt of Buckingham Palace.
I doubt that many of these athletes has ever received such applause from such a non partisan crowd and it was clear that some of the athletes were very overcome wih emotion on their final lap - applauding the crowd as they approaced the finish. Well we applaude all those Olympians... all winners.. no losers.