Race walking is one of the few Olympic sports with no female category. Now it is no more since the International Olympic Committee has canceled the sport over “gender equity” concerns.
The 50km race walk is an endurance sport that has been part of the Games since 1932. At more than three hours, it is the longest and one of the more grueling events at the Games. However, despite having been around for 80 years, the IOC now says it doesn’t “fit” their “mission.”
“The Olympic committee has decided the race does not fit with its stated mission of gender equality. It is the only event on the Olympic program that has no approximate equivalent for women. Rather than add a women’s race, they will bring in an unspecified mixed-team race walking event,” News.com.au reported.
With the decision in place, the final Olympic 50km race walk was held on Friday.
The news did not sit well with sportswriter Elliott Denman, who competed in the event for Team U.S.A. in 1956. Denman labeled the sport the “longest and toughest of all events.”
Denman lamented that the list of the medalists for race walking would now have to be dug out of the “discontinued events” section, and he praised “all these gutsy guys over the years, slogging it out on the roads of Olympic cities.”
“Truth be told, they loved every step of their long journeys. They loved reminding people their event was the ‘longest and the toughest,'” Denman wrote. “And now, for all that effort, they’re being told to ‘go take a hike.’ Somewhere else.”
Olympics officials never took the time to develop a female version of race walking. And now, because the IOC’s latest mission is “gender equality,” the event will be jettisoned over a lack of diversity by the same people who never tried to instill diversity into the sport in the first place.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.