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Robert "Rob" Heffernan (born 28 February 1978) is an Irish race walker.

Robert Heffernan
Robert Heffernan by Augustas Didzgalvis.jpg
Heffernan wins the World Championships of 2013 in Moscow
Personal information
Born (1978-02-28) 28 February 1978 (age 41)
Cork, Ireland
Height1.71 m (5 ft 7 12 in)
Weight58 kg (128 lb)
Spouse(s)Marian Heffernan
Country Ireland
Event(s)20 km race walk, 50 km race walk
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)20 km: 1:19:22
50 km: 3:37:54[1]


At the 2000 Olympics he finished in 28th place, and at the 2004 Olympics he was disqualified, both in the 20 km race walking discipline.[2]

At the 2008 Olympic Games he improved, coming eighth in the 20km Walk. His wife Marian Andrews is also national women's 400 metres champion and was on the Irish women's team that finished 4th in the European indoors. On 27 July 2010, Heffernan won the bronze medal in the 2010 European Athletics Championships in the 20 kilometres walk, posting a time of 1:21:00 (achieved retrospectively in 2014 after Russian Stanislav Emelyanov was found to have committed an anti-doping violation).He also finished 4th in the 50km walk in a national record time of 3:45:30.This was an amazing achievement due to the fact it was just 3 days after the 20 km event.

At the 2012 Olympics, Heffernan finished ninth in the 20km race. A week later he finished fourth in the 50km, finishing seven minutes faster than the previous national record. His achievements in London were the top two performances for the Irish Athletics team at the 2012 Olympics.[3]

In early 2015, it was revealed that a number of Russian male and female champion racewalkers were under investigation for doping violations including the winner of the 50 km walk in London, Sergey Kirdyapkin. The athlete was retrospectively suspended during specific periods between 2009 and 2012 by his federation (RUSADA) and had most of his results annulled —including world titles, but not his Olympic title.

The IAAF were unhappy with the verdict made by the Russian Athletics federation and made it clear that they would be taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) believing that the ban should include his participation in the London Olympics. In a statement, the IAAF disagreed with the selective disqualification of results applied by RUSADA.

On 24 March 2016, the court of Arbitration for Sport favoured the IAAF and Heffernan was upgraded to Olympic Bronze.[4][5] He received his bronze medal in November 2016.[6]

2013 World championshipsEdit

On 14 August 2013, Heffernan finished first in the 2013 World Championships in Athletics 50km event in Moscow, finishing over a minute clear of the silver medal position with a winning time of 3:37:56.[7][8][9] Speaking after the race Heffernan said "Its surreal, it's just a great feeling," he said. "When I came into the stadium it just felt like an out of body experience. It's hard to take it all in at the moment. I'm delighted." [10][11] The winning time was the fastest time in the world in 2013 by more than three minutes.[12][13][14]

Performance at major championshipsEdit

Year Competition Venue Position Event Notes
Representing   Ireland
1999 World Race Walking Cup Mézidon-Canon, France 70th 20 km 1:32:14
European U23 Championships Göteborg, Sweden 13th 20 km 1:36:26
2000 European Race Walking Cup Eisenhüttenstadt, Germany 18th 20 km 1:22:43
Olympic Games Sydney, Australia 28th 20 km 1:26:04
2001 European Race Walking Cup Dudince, Slovakia 17th 20 km 1:23:57
World Championships Edmonton, Canada 14th 20 km 1:25:02
2002 European Championships Munich, Germany 8th 20 km 1:21:10
2004 World Race Walking Cup Naumburg, Germany 27th 20 km 1:22:58
Olympic Games Athens, Greece 20 km DSQ
2005 World Championships Helsinki, Finland 20 km DSQ
2007 World Championships Osaka, Japan 6th 20 km 1:23:42
2008 World Race Walking Cup Cheboksary, Russia 9th 20 km 1:19:22 (PB)
Olympic Games Beijing, PR China 8th 20 km 1:20:36
2009 European Race Walking Cup Metz, France 4th 20 km 1:25:21
World Championships Berlin, Germany 15th 20 km 1:22:09
2010 European Championships Barcelona, Spain 3rd 20 km 1:21:00
4th 50 km 3:45:30
2011 European Race Walking Cup Olhão, Portugal 9th 20 km 1:25:34
2012 World Race Walking Cup Saransk, Russia 11th 20 km 1:21:51
Olympic Games London, England 9th 20 km 1:20:18
3rd 50 km 3:37:54 (PB)
2013 European Race Walking Cup Dudince, Slovakia 9th 20 km 1:23:26
World Championships Moscow, Russia 1st 50 km 3:37:56
2014 World Race Walking Cup Taicang, China 23rd 20 km 1:21:00
2015 World Championships Beijing, China 5th 50 km 3:44:17
2016 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 6th 50 km 3:43:55


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Robert Heffernan at". Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  3. ^ "London can spur Rob to medal in Moscow, says Loughnane". Irish Examiner. 9 August 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Olympic star Robert Heffernan finally receives bronze medal after doper is disqualified". Irish Independent. 11 June 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Olive Loughnane and Robert Heffernan to receive major medals and justice". RTÉ Sport. 11 June 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Ireland's Rob Heffernan strikes gold in 50km walk". The Irish Times. 14 August 2013.
  8. ^ "Rob Heffernan: It was a bonus that I destroyed everyone". Irish Independent. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  9. ^ "'Proud' Heffernan: We are as good as anybody". Irish Examiner/ 14 August 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Robert Heffernan wins Ireland's first world gold for 18 years in 50km walk". Guardian. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  11. ^ "Ireland's Rob Heffernan claims gold at World Track and Field Championships". The Score. 14 August 2013. Archived from the original on 16 August 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  12. ^ "LEESIDE LEGEND ROB GETS HIS JUST REWARD". Evening Echo. 14 August 2013. Archived from the original on 1 March 2014. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  13. ^ "Ireland celebrate first male world champion in 30 years as Heffernan seals 50km walk". Daily Mail. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
  14. ^ "Rob Heffernan aiming for Rio after his 'Rocky' moment". Irish Independent. 15 August 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013.

External linksEdit