Athletics at the 2004 Summer Olympics – Men's 20 kilometres walk
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.
|Men's 20 kilometres walk|
at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad
|Venue||Athens Olympic Stadium|
|Competitors||48 from 28 nations|
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.
Prior to the competition[update], 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.
All times are Greece Standard Time (UTC+2)
|Friday, 20 August 2004||09:00||Final|
- "IAAF Athens 2004: Men's 20km Race Walk Final". Athens 2004. IAAF. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- "Athletics at the 2004 Athens Summer Games: Men's 20 kilometres Walk". sports-reference.com. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
- Arcoleo, Laura (20 August 2004). "Italy's Baldini wins men's marathon". IAAF. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- Berlin, Peter (21 August 2004). "On a hot day, Brugnetti captures gold in 20-kilometer event : Italian makes short work of walk". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 October 2015.