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1968 Olympic Games Ciudad de México, Mexico - Men's 20 km Walk



Host City: Ciudad de México, Mexico
Date Started: October 14, 1968
Date Finished: October 14, 1968
(Competitors: 33; Countries: 20)
Venue(s): University Olympic Stadium, Ciudad de México
Overview by IAAF  1968_olympic_stadium.jpg
The Soviets and Germans were the fastest before the Olympics, though Track and Field News noted “there’s a talented Mexican walker named José Pedraza who’s itching to give his country its first Olympic track medal ever.” Haluza was the surprise leader at 5Km in 23:11, but by halfway Smaga and Golubnichiy were 12 seconds ahead of the American with Pedraza and the deaf mute Sperling. The position was little changed at 15Km, except that Sperling begun to fade away, but the Mexican crowd roared when Golubnichiy and Smaga entered the stadium to be followed by Pedraza just 30m behind. The Mexican caught Smaga on the last turn and closed to within 4m of Golubnichiy, crossing the line behind the calm Ukrainian with a gritted teeth look of frustration at being so close. Never before had anyone finished within nine seconds of the winner, but here the bronze medallist was a mere five seconds back.
Summary by
Vladimir Golubnichy won his third consecutive medal in the event, repeating his gold medal from 1960. But it did not come easy and the finish was the closest ever in the Olympics for this race. Entering the stadium, Golubnichy had a slight lead over his teammate, Nikolay Smaga, but Mexico’s José Pedraza was only 30 metres behind as they got onto the track. The Mexican fans went crazy, cheering for Pedraza, who began closing quickly on the Soviets, with a technique that was of marginal legality. But no judge would have been brave enough to red flag Pedraza in front of 80,000 cheering spectators. Pedraza caught Smaga on the last turn and then began closing on Golubnichy, and was by now in almost a full sprint. But Golubnichy held off Pedraza, saving the officials from making a difficult decision. The three medalists finished within five seconds of one another.
20 km Walk Men Final 14 October
Rank Mark Athlete Country NOC Age Records Notes
1 1-33.58.4 Volodymyr Holubnychiy Soviet Union URS 32
2 1-34.00.0 José Pedraza Mexico MEX 31
3 1-34.03.4 Mykola Smaha Soviet Union URS 30
4 1-35.00.2 Rudy Haluza United States USA 37
5 1-35.27.2 Gerhard Sperling East Germany GDR 30
6 1-36.16.8 Otto Barch Soviet Union URS 24
7 1-36.31.4 Hans-Georg Reimann East Germany GDR 27
8 1-36.43.4 Stefan Ingvarsson Sweden SWE 21
9 1-37.07.6 Leonida Caraiosifoglu Romania ROU 23
10 1-37.20.8 Peter Frenkel East Germany GDR 29
11 1-37.32.0 Arthur Jones Great Britain GBR 30
12 1-37.32.0 Pasquale Busca Italy ITA 19
13 1-38.17 José Oliveros Mexico MEX 20
14 1-38.24 Antal Kiss Hungary HUN 32
15 1-40.03 Stig Lindberg Sweden SWE 37
16 1-40.06 Frank Clark Australia AUS 25
17 1-40.08 Tom Dooley United States USA 22
18 1-40.11 Karl-Heinz Merschenz Canada CAN 31
19 1-40.17 Charel Sowa Luxembourg LUX 35
20 1-41.52 Eladio Campos Mexico MEX 32
21 1-41.58 Örjan Andersson Sweden SWE 25
22 1-42.51 John Webb Great Britain GBR 31
23 1-43.36 René Pfister Switzerland SUI 25
24 1-43.50 Bob Hughes Great Britain GBR 20
25 1-44.38 Ron Laird United States USA 30
26 1-47.29 Mieczysław Rutyna Poland POL 37
27 1-49.27 Euclides Calzado Cuba CUB 24
28 1-54.48 Julio Ortíz Guatemala GUA 21
29 1-58.48 Roberto Castellanos El Salvador ESA 18
AC DQ Julius Müller West Germany FRG 29
AC DNF José Esteban Valle Nicaragua NCA 26
AC DNF Carlos Vanegas Nicaragua NCA 22
AC DNF Felix Cappella Canada CAN 38
AC DNF Kazuo Saito Japan JPN 26




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