Two Olympic competitions you most likely didn’t watch this past weekend included a 20 kilometer competitive walk and men and women defying gravity with a trampoline.
Race-walking is, while certainly an endurance test, true to its name. Contestants compete in a course to see who can get to the finish line fastest by walking. The strange sport has been an Olympic staple for over a hundred years for men, with a womne’s category added in 1992.
Photos from races would never reveal that the competitors are doing a mere brisk walk: their sweat and tightened body muscles show true signs of athletic strain.
On Friday Aug. 12, China’s Wang Zhen won the slow but steady competition, crossing the finish line after walking 20 kilometers in one hour, 19 minutes.
Next Friday, race walking will continue with the men’s 50 kilometer and women’s 20 kilometer competition.
Unlike race walking, Olympic Trampolining is celebrating its sweet 16 this year after landing in the Olympic fold in 2000. The competitors perform several acrobatic feat while in the air, flipping and turning their bodies until landing and doing it all over again.
In the women’s category, Canada’s Rosannagh Maclennan took gold with a total of 56.465 points for her routine. In the Men’s category, Uladzislau Hancharou from Belarus beat out China’s Dong Dong and Lei Gao, two seasoned champions of the sport.
Check out the gallery to see the highflying action of the trampoline competitors and the hip-swinging strength of the 20 kilometer race-walk.
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Runners' shoes hit wet pavement during the men's 20 km race walk.
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(L to R) Dane Bird-Smith of Australia, Zhen Wang of China and Zelin Cai of China compete in the Men's 20km Race Walk.
Ryan Pierse / Staff
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Zhen Wang of China celebrates winning gold in the men's 20km race walk.
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Zhen Wang of China (C) poses with the gold medal, Zelin Cai of China (L) with the silver medal and Dane Bird-Smith of Australia with the bronze medal after the Men's 20km Race Walk.
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Uladzislau Hancharou of Belarus performs during the Mens Trampoline competition.
Julian Finney /Staff
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Uladzislau Hancharou of Belarus celebrates winning gold with silver and bronze medalists Dong Dong and Lei Gao of China during the Men's Trampoline.
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osannagh Maclennan of Canada competes during the Trampoline Gymnastics Women's Final.
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(L-R) Silver medalist Bryony Page of Great Britain, gold medalist Rosannagh Maclennan of Canada and bronze medalist Dan Li of China pose during the medal ceremony for the Trampoline Gymnastics Women's Final.