Racewalking is an Olympic sport?

I was flipping through the channels watching Olympics while I was on a business trip. And lo and behold I saw the funniest sight ever. Wait, are those people powerwalking? What the…
Apparently there’s an endurance sport called racewalking that’s been part of track & field for ages. It’s different from powerwalking being that there are more rules to follow and there are some serious optimization of how the hips move and how it’s judged. But it was still definitely a jaw-dropping sight.
While it was kind of funny to watch and obviously it often gets little respect, I have to admit that it’s definitely a lot more difficult than you think it might be. The point of it is that you have to keep form for the entire length of time and that most events are over an hour long meaning that it becomes a total endurance sport. On top of that, you can’t run and thus making it extremely difficult in the latter half of races since the range of motion makes you want to break out in a faster pace. It’s sort of like keeping a horse from going from a trot to a full gallop, which is pretty difficult since it’s the middle ground between speeds.
Who knew. Then again, this year was also the first year that the summer Olympics included BMX racing. Guess they’re starting to merge those sports from the X games alongside some things that most people have never heard of. Racewalking. hmm. Crazy stuff, I tell ya. Crazy stuff.

  • Andy Jackson

    Thanks for your fair assessment of racewalking. While never at the elite level, I found racewalking after a back surgery took away running as a fitness activity for me. The walking helped me drop 45 lbs. while strengthening my legs and low back. I could train 15-20 miles a week while doing an endurance weight training program and my 5K and one mile times dropped quite a bit. While I no longer compete at it, I very much enjoyed my participation in it. Too bad so many feel the need to laugh at what is really a great activity to participate in.

  • Andy Jackson

    Thanks for your fair assessment of racewalking. While never at the elite level, I found racewalking after a back surgery took away running as a fitness activity for me. The walking helped me drop 45 lbs. while strengthening my legs and low back. I could train 15-20 miles a week while doing an endurance weight training program and my 5K and one mile times dropped quite a bit. While I no longer compete at it, I very much enjoyed my participation in it. Too bad so many feel the need to laugh at what is really a great activity to participate in.

  • Although I’m always amazed that people don’t know more about racewalking, it was nice to read your post. Due to stenosis, (not walking related) I’m out of it for this year, but I’m going to be back next year for sure. It’s the ‘Cadillac’ method of bipedal locomotion. It has kept me fit for the past 8 years; fit enough to do 5 marathons.

  • Although I’m always amazed that people don’t know more about racewalking, it was nice to read your post. Due to stenosis, (not walking related) I’m out of it for this year, but I’m going to be back next year for sure. It’s the ‘Cadillac’ method of bipedal locomotion. It has kept me fit for the past 8 years; fit enough to do 5 marathons.