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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.[1][2]

Women's 20 kilometres walk
at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad
VenueAthens Olympic Stadium
Dates23 August
Competitors57 from 35 nations
Winning time1:29.12
1st, gold medalist(s) Athanasia Tsoumeleka  Greece
2nd, silver medalist(s) Olimpiada Ivanova  Russia
3rd, bronze medalist(s) Jane Saville  Australia
← 2000
2008 →

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.[3] 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.[4][5]


Prior to the competition, 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)

Date Time Round
Monday, 23 August 2004 09:00 Final


Rank Name Nationality Result Notes
  Athanasia Tsoumeleka   Greece 1:29.12 PB
  Olimpiada Ivanova   Russia 1:29.16
  Jane Saville   Australia 1:29.25
4 Ryta Turava   Belarus 1:29:39
5 Melanie Seeger   Germany 1:29:52
6 Elisa Rigaudo   Italy 1:29:57
7 María Vasco   Spain 1:30:06
8 Wang Liping   China 1:30:16
9 Elena Ginko   Belarus 1:30:22
10 Athina Papayianni   Greece 1:30:37
11 Rossella Giordano   Italy 1:30:39
12 Kjersti Plätzer   Norway 1:30:49 SB
13 Yuliya Voyevodina   Russia 1:31:02
14 Song Hongjuan   China 1:31:27
15 Valentina Tsybulskaya   Belarus 1:31:49
16 Sabine Zimmer   Germany 1:31:59
17 Yelena Nikolayeva   Russia 1:32:16
18 Elisabetta Perrone   Italy 1:32:21 SB
19 Kristina Saltanovič   Lithuania 1:32:22
20 Susana Feitor   Portugal 1:32:47
21 Sylwia Korzeniowska   Poland 1:33:06
22 Zuzana Maliková   Slovakia 1:33:17
23 Sonata Milušauskaitė   Lithuania 1:33:36
24 Barbora Dibelková   Czech Republic 1:33:37
25 Inês Henriques   Portugal 1:33:53
26 Maribel Gonçalves   Portugal 1:33:59
27 Norica Câmpean   Romania 1:34:30
28 Svetlana Tolstaya   Kazakhstan 1:34:43
29 Ana Maria Groza   Romania 1:34:56
30 Rocío Florido   Spain 1:35:32
31 Hristina Kokotou   Greece 1:35:43
32 Jiang Jing   China 1:35:56
33 Yeliz Ay   Turkey 1:36:02
34 Victoria Palacios   Mexico 1:36:07
35 Yuan Yufang   Malaysia 1:36:34
36 Natalie Saville   Australia 1:36:54
37 Daniela Cîrlan   Romania 1:37:14
38 Cheryl Webb   Australia 1:37:40
39 Marie Polli   Switzerland 1:37:53
40 Mayumi Kawasaki   Japan 1:37:56
41 Geovana Irusta   Bolivia 1:38:36
42 Vira Zozulya   Ukraine 1:38:45
43 Teresa Vaill   United States 1:38:47
44 Edina Füsti   Hungary 1:39:45
45 Anita Liepiņa   Latvia 1:39:54
46 Sandra Zapata   Colombia 1:42:22
47 Nicolene Cronje   South Africa 1:42:37
48 Alessandra Picagevicz   Brazil 1:46:21
49 Teresita Collado   Guatemala 1:46:41
50 Yelena Kuznetsova   Kazakhstan 1:49:08
51 Yolene Raffin   Mauritius 1:49:28
52 Fumilay Fonseca   São Tomé and Príncipe 2:04:54 PB
Olive Loughnane   Ireland DNF
Rosario Sánchez   Mexico DNF
Nevena Mineva   Bulgaria DNF
María Teresa Gargallo   Spain DSQ
Kim Mi-jung   South Korea DSQ


  1. ^ "IAAF Athens 2004: Women's 20km Race Walk Final". Athens 2004. IAAF. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Athletics at the 2004 Athens Summer Games: Women's 20 kilometres Walk". Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  3. ^ Berlin, Peter (23 August 2004). "A hunter is hunted down in 800". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  4. ^ Arcoleo, Laura (23 August 2004). "Surprise Greek win – Women's 20km Race Walk Olympic report". IAAF. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Greece wins walk gold". BBC Sport. 23 August 2004. Retrieved 18 October 2015.

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