Sunday, July 1, 2012

Secret Sport

As I write this Ameria's finest women race walkers are waking and preparing for the Olympic trrials.  The men have a 50K race and a 20K race contested at the games but the women only the 20K.  Some of those American women are on the mission of changing that.  Yesterday a young American man earned a slot on the team by winning the trials and breaking records along the way.  Sadly most Americans don't know anything about this news or for that matter even what race walking is.

I was a runner, I started in the early seventies when our sports heroes were Frank Shorter, Bill Rogers, Bruce Jenner and Jim Ryan.  America had some runners and they were breaking records and were a force in the running world.  America loves winners and wanted a piece of that action, here was a sport that everyone could do, and anyone could go to races and compete.  The running boom had started and is still going strong today.

A young man named Lance Armstrong made America notice bike racing.  America loves a winner and we watched him race that gruling Tour De France every year.  Once again everyone knew who he was and we loved to watch him win.  I bought a bike and put in a lot of miles as did a lot of Americans.

We have had American's who dominated the Boxing ring, the Karate Tournements and the growing sport of Tri Athalons.  But we haven't been a force in Race Walking.  That could change this year.

I came to race walking as a 55 year old injured runner looking for a way to continue to comperte in races but without the impact that running puts on our bodies.  I had seem some local race walkers compete and thought that might be worth looking into.  I was only planning to do that for a short time though cause "I was a runner, not a walker".  That was amost 6 years ago and I'm still learning the sport and technique of race walking.

I have discovered that when your moving properly it feels like running with the exception that your keeping one foot in contact with the ground and keeping a straight knee as your lead leg goes back.  Sounds a bit awkward and it can be but as you develop as a walker it all smooths out.  There is a big difference between a race walker and a walker, not only in the speeds they are capable of achieving but in the whole mechanics of motion.

I have come to love the sport and plan to train and compete well into my senior years.  But when I tell most people that I race walk they have no idea what I'm talking about.  I might as well be speaking a different language.  Maybe when our newest champions compete and do well in the Olympics the media will finally notice and show the people what our sport is all about.

Thanks for reading.

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