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Why does this exist? I've read the history of the sport and can't fathom why it still exists as a sport.
Does anyone know any racewalking fans? Have you ever heard of one?
I'm kinda fascinated by this. How does one decide to become an elite racewalker? Is it people who are really really good at the million types of running and endurance events that people care about, but just not good enough to be elite level? I just don't see anyone thinking hmmm what should I aim for? Marathons? 5000m? Tour de France? Ironman? Nah, lemme be the best at walking fast!
Anyway, I really really hope that we have someone in OOT who is really into racewalking and can provide a counter to what I imagine everyone here thinks - that this sport is ridiculous.
Presumably along with everyone else who caught some of this earlier, I had the same conversation with my friends and we couldn't reach an acceptable reason for racewalking to exist, let alone as a 'sport'.
I think foot-to-ground contact is a big deal? This must sort the men from the boys.
It's definitely a goofy looking sport and I don't think I get it either although I can respect that what they are doing looks damn hard.
But I think the same arguments can be made for other sports too...referring to "does anyone know any ______ fans?" and "does anyone really start out striving to be an elite _______."
Thinking of things like trampoline and sync-swimming....and the good old SOLO synchronized swimming!!
I also thought similar to your thoughts on this in regards to the steeplechase. It involves running and then some jumps over big hurdles and some water...but mostly it's a running event so basically I think it's filled with the guys who just weren't good enough at the 5k to compete in the straight-forward version of that event. The steeplechase was their better opportunity really. I have to think nobody actually starts out competing in the steeplechase over just plain distance running.
Pentathalon is really weird too: fence all your opponents, then swim 200m, then ride a horse you've never been on before through a bunch of jumps, and then some running and shooting. What?
Back in 1900 a couple of weirder Olympic sports included kite-flying and hot-air ballooning.
And usually that champion is a young woman who started out with dreams of running or jumping to glory rather than walking to it. Perhaps that is racewalking's biggest plus: It broadens opportunities for athletes not overly blessed with traditional skills.
That is the case with Danella Speicht, the senior who two weeks ago won the 1,600-meter walk at the Rockland Coaches Invitational and is the standout among New Rochelle's nine walkers.
Danella's two older sisters were successful runners for Capellan. ''I wasn't running too well and didn't get the hang of hurdling,'' she said, ''but I was mad when Coach suggested I try walking. I mean, my friends still make serious jokes about it.''
Popular it isn't. In virtually every other land sport, all-out running is demanded at some point; in walking, it leads to disqualification. Isn't full speed ahead part of the American creed?
While most walkers start with the stigma of not having made it in other events, it takes special skills to walk fast and long.
''Ideally a walker needs flexibility,'' Capellan said. ''And strong knees and endurance. Long legs help, too.
''Usually a walker is a girl who hasn't been able to score points for the team elsewhere. And usually there's an attitude about walking. Plus a lot of coaches consider it a waste of time. It often isn't coached or officiated properly, and the officiating is very subjective.''