In a continuing series, Steve Smythe looks back at the women’s race walk events at the Olympics
There have only been six women’s walk champions and the inaugural event was a 10km road walk in Barcelona in 1992.
Ukrainian Alma Ivanova entered the stadium in third but took off in the last 150 metres and moved through to cross the line first only to be disqualified.
Chen Yueling thus took gold, a second ahead of Yelena Nikolayeva. The Russian made no mistake in Atlanta in 1996, winning in an Olympic record 41:49.
The event was switched to a 20km in Sydney in 2000. Local favourite Jane Saville entered the tunnel in the lead but was disqualified in the tunnel to disappoint the huge Aussie crowd.
As in 1992, the beneficiary of this late disqualification was China as Wang Liping won.
In Athens in 2004, not surprisingly there was no home disqualification as Athanasia Tsoumeleka, who had only been seventh in the world championships a year earlier, held off world record-holder Olimpiada Ivanova by four seconds. Saville was a relieved third.
Russia won the 2008 and 2012 titles though both winners later received drugs suspensions.
British women haven’t the same distinguished record as the men, with Jo Jackson’s 21st in Beijing the best Olympic result.
» Check out editions of Athletics Weekly magazine from September 24, 2015, for more from our ‘Countdown to Rio’ series
» For the full Olympic history: Women’s race walk feature, including a complete list of medallists, see the January 14, 2016, edition of AW magazine