Monday, December 11, 2006

Walking?

I was at an athletics event the other day. One of the events was the 2000m walk. I watched with my kids and we discussed who was running and who was walking. It was tough to tell. It seemed to us that the best concealed runner was the fastest and it was really a game of deceit!

It reminded me of my distaste for race walking as a sport. I believe it violates the principle of athletics. Athletics involves getting from one place to another as fast as possible. It involves jumping as far as possible whether it is up or along the ground and whether it involves a variety of jumps (e.g. tiple jump) or one (e.g. high/long jump). It involves throwing an implement as far as possible.

Race walking involves a convoluted set of qualifications in terms of motor movement which are very subjective and difficult to discern. So it is the one who can do the best job of running while looking like walking who wins. Why on earth they don't just make it a running race? Don't get me wrong; I am not understating the amazing effort involved in race walking; in fact it is tough!
I will never forget Craig Barrett's Kuala Lumpar Commonwealth dehydration disaster as case in point.

However, I will also not forget the poor Australian woman disqualified by the judges at the 2000 Sydney Olympics entering the stadium because some judge disapproved of her style; poor girl, she didn't do as good a job of cheating.

I think race walking should be removed as a sport from international and other athletics competitions and consigned to its own world for those who are keen. Rather, we should have races from one point to another where the athlete seeks to get there as fast as possible on legs (and arms if they want!). They can walk if they think it will be quicker but I don't think any will go for it.

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