Grueling Event At The Olympics Didn’t Have A Women’s Version, So They Got Rid Of It Altogether

Lintay Zhang/Getty Images

Melanie Wilcox Contributor
Font Size:

The International Olympic Committee decided to scrap the men’s 50km race walk for Paris 2024 because there is no equivalent race for women, Reuters reported Friday.

“It’s a terrible mistake by the [International Olympic Committee] and World Athletics,” Canada’s Evan Dunfee and bronze medalist told reporters after the event. “I think we showcased today that this event belongs in the Olympics.” (RELATED: Calling All Patriots: How Much Of The Olympics Have You Watched?)

“The easiest solution would have been to allow women to race 50K at the Olympics,” Dunfee added, according to Reuters. Instead, the International Olympic Committee’s executive board decided in June that a mixed-gender race walk team event would replace the men’s 50km race walk.

Germany’s Jonathan Hilbert won a silver medal in the 50km walk at the Tokyo Olympics and said he was “really sad” about the possibility.

Elliott Denman, a sportswriter who competed for Team USA in 1956 in race walking, called the 50km event “the longest and toughest of all events.”

“Unless the situation takes a drastic U-turn somewhere down the road, and don’t get your hopes up about it – the (Tokyo) 50K champion will be the 20th and last in an amazing series,” he wrote on a running blog.

“Truth be told, they loved every step of their long journeys,” Denman added. “They loved reminding people their event was the ‘longest and the toughest’. And now, for all that effort, they’re being told to ‘go take a hike’. Somewhere else.”

Yohann Diniz of France, who has the world record of three hours, 32 minutes and 33 seconds in 2011, dropped out of the Tokyo race Friday. Poland’s Dawid Tomala won.