1996 Olympic 10km Walk ~ Atlanta, USA

This is a photo taken by Mr. Reid Stott.

It is an awesome capture of the 1996 Women’s Olympic 10km Walk.

The race started on the track.  This photo is taken on the track, just before we left the stadium to walk the road loop.   We were a blurr of countries walking together!  I am the tallest walker on the left side of the photo, middle of the pack.  It was a fast start and we were “flying.”  Judges had their eyes on us for contact (one foot on the ground at all times) and bent knee (leg not straight when it hits the ground and under the hip) ~ these are the two rules of Olympic Walking.

After a few hundred meters on the track, we entered the “Olympic Tunnel” — a cool, dark, short 8 seconds of reprieve from the blazing sun.  It was every athlete for herself, racing for position and aiming for the road course.  The battle was not only athlete vs athlete.  The Olympic walk is a challenging athlete-against-athlete and “athlete vs themself” (individual pace, strategy, pain, technique & mental state) in addition to athlete vs the heat and humidity of Atlanta in August!

I finished 20th, my best finish of all three Olympic Games.  I was pleased with my race and believe I did well because of my great “cheering section” — an awesome group of friends and, of course, my beautiful family.  They all traveled to Atlanta to watch me compete.

Many people wonder (and some even ask), “Did you win a medal in the Olympics?”  My answer:  “A medal would have been nice but, the experience in each of the Games was like GOLD!  Each of the Games was, for me, thrilling in its own way and memories that will last a lifetime!