Athletics at the 2004 Summer Olympics – Women's 20 kilometres walk
The women'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 23.
|Women's 20 kilometres walk|
at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad
|Venue||Athens Olympic Stadium|
|Competitors||57 from 35 nations|
The race had started with a strong, good-sized bunch of fifty-seven walkers keeping together through the field. As the group left the stadium falling apart, Russia's Olimpiada Ivanova took the front of the pack on the opening 2k laps, followed by several of the anticipated favorites, which included 2000 Olympic champion Wang Liping, the Australian sisters Jane and Natalie Saville, and the Greek duo Athina Papayianni and Athanasia Tsoumeleka.
By the half way mark, fourteen walkers were still in close contention with Ivanova maintaining the lead and Belarus' Ryta Turava staying beside her to shorten the gap. As the Belarusian began to lose contact, Ivanova steadily broke away from the group to own the race, until Jane Saville set the pace much faster to chase her on the succeeding lap. With just 2k left to go, home favorite Tsoumeleka zoomed past the two remaining chasers Ivanova and Saville on a late charge to quickly build up a seemingly insurmountable lead.
Entering the Olympic Stadium with a rapturous welcome from the partisan crowd, Tsoumeleka walked jubilantly into the final stretch to deliver the Greeks their first ever Olympic track and field gold medal at these Games. She finished the race in 1:29.12, just four seconds ahead of the eventual silver medalist Ivanova. Meanwhile, Saville had finally erased her setback of being disqualified at the Sydney Olympics four years earlier to successfully claim the bronze, holding Turava off the podium to fourth.
Prior to the competition[update], the existing World and Olympic records were as follows.
|World record||Wang Yan (CHN)||1:26:22||Guangzhou, China||19 November 2001|
|Olympic record||Wang Liping (CHN)||1:29:05||Sydney, Australia||28 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 women's 20 kilometres race walk, each National Olympic Committee was permitted to enter up to three athletes that had run the race in 1:33:30 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 1:38:00 or faster could be entered.
All times are Greece Standard Time (UTC+2)
|Monday, 23 August 2004||09:00||Final|
- "IAAF Athens 2004: Women's 20km Race Walk Final". Athens 2004. IAAF. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
- "Athletics at the 2004 Athens Summer Games: Women's 20 kilometres Walk". sports-reference.com. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
- Berlin, Peter (23 August 2004). "A hunter is hunted down in 800". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- Arcoleo, Laura (23 August 2004). "Surprise Greek win – Women's 20km Race Walk Olympic report". IAAF. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
- "Greece wins walk gold". BBC Sport. 23 August 2004. Retrieved 18 October 2015.