It’s that time again. The once every four years people care about sports that aren’t usually on the viewing radar. No sport exemplifies that sentiment as much as race walking. RaceWalk.com will be down in Rio and covering the three race walks: Men’s 20km and 50km and the Women’s 20km.
Those on this year’s USA squad are rock solid. Unfortunately, we have no one representing the men in the 20km which looks to be held under great weather conditions (Sunny from 65 degrees to 76 degrees) Instead we have the dynamic duo M^4, Maria Michta and Miranda Melville. It’s the first time since 2000 that the USA has more than one woman competing. Coach Seaman is very excited and enthusiastic stating they are “both in a great place in their training.” Maria is returning as a 2-time Olympian having finished 28th in London with the fastest (1:32:27) 20km finish of a USA woman at the Olympics. Coach Seaman thinks, “Maria’s experience in London is going to for sure help her in Rio.” With a PR of 1:30:49 (USA record) she is on the threshold of breaking under 1:30. In 2012, Miranda Melville was outkicked at the USA Olympic Trials and lost her spot on the 2012 Olympic Team. However, with a PR of 1:31:42 she was well under the new Olympic Time standard and easily qualified for Rio. Many may not realize just how long it takes to build an Olympian. Melville’s been at it since 2003!. Thirteen long years and she is now focused on performing the best she can given whatever conditions are thrown at her. Hopefully, we will have the top two times by American women in the Olympics. Under Coach Seaman’s guidance, Michta has dropped over 10 minutes in her 20km time and Melville over 6 having matured into experienced athletes ready to overcome any adversity.
John Nunn is the USA’s sole 50km participant, but the 3-time Olympian is ready for his best Olympics yet. He’s “paid more attention to his training day in and out” and takes a more scientific approach especially when his body gets banged up. Cross training has been his friend. He will be joined in the stands by his daughter Ella. Ella is a veteran, having watched all of Nunn’s Olympic performances. She’s excited to come down and has enjoyed Facetiming with Nunn from Rio. This hopefully won’t be Ella’s last trip to the Olympics. Nunn hopes to reassess his options after a small break post Rio. Tokyo 2020 anyone?
The men’s 20km race is on August 12th at 1:30 PM then Men’s 50km race is on Friday August 19th at 7:00 AM and is followed at 1:30 PM by the women’s 20KM race walk. As always, RaceWalk.com will be providing a photo story for each race. We hope to have at least one photo of every athlete in every race as well as plenty of the lead pack as well as those I am a little biased towards. So expect plenty of photos from the USA, Australia, Canada, as well as my friends in Ireland, and Slovakia. Rio brings with it many challenges. If you listen to the media you have to worry about sewage, unfinished construction, crime and more. Melville is a veteran traveler and points out that “there are always issues or warnings no matter where you go in the world. You just have to be flexible and adapt to your surroundings.” So far from the reports of the USA athletes everything seems fine. Here’s hoping!
In addition to local concerns, there has been a cloud over the games that has nothing to do with the weather. Russia’s ban for doping has been unprecedented. Many may not know of the efforts race walkers had in bringing the ban to fruition. Australia’s Jared Tallent and others rang the bell loud and long until people listened. Without the Russians and others that have been caught doping it provides an opportunity for clean athletes to finally reach their potential and actually receive their medals on the podium instead of posthumously. For Melville the crackdown “is a relief” and hopes “that in the near future we will see the sport of race walking and track and field in a much more honest light.” Additionally, for those who want to watch the events online, they are being streamed at: http://olympics.cbc.ca/
Want to be an Olympian? How about just fit and healthy? Something in between? Then a Race Walking Clinic of Excellence should be in your plans. We have a few upcoming clinics and a few more in the works.
September 17th and 18th, Boston, MA
January 14th - 16th - Jackson, Mississippi – Application coming soon, email if interested
February - San Diego, Ca
May – Williamsport, PA
Special During the Race Walks in Rio, Super Prices until August 22nd. Products to ship on August 22nd.
USA orders only - Get a discounted Race Walk Like a Champion Book, DVD or set of both.
Book & DVD Set - $40 including S&H - Normally $59.95 + $6 S&H.