Historians will note that the winners of race walking gold at the Tokyo Olympics were Antonella Palmisano of Italy (women’s 20km), Massimo Stano of Italy (men’s 20km) and Dawid Tomala of Poland (men’s 50km).
But the competitors and others on hand will also remember the judges, the sticklers who stepped into the races to flash yellow warning paddles at athletes breaking the rules.
There are a few major differences between running and race walking beyond the speed. In race walking, one foot must always be in contact with the ground. A violation of this rule is called “lifting.”
In addition, rules state that an athlete’s advancing leg must remain straight from the point of contact with the ground until the athlete’s passes over it.
Judges observe the race and caution competitors if it appears a competitor is breaking the above rules. Three violations during a race leads to disqualification.