Athletics at the 2004 Summer Olympics – Women's 20 kilometres walk

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Women's 20 kilometres walk
at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad
VenueAthens Olympic Stadium
Dates23 August
Competitors57 from 35 nations
Winning time1:29.12
1st place, gold medalist(s) Athanasia Tsoumeleka  Greece
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Olimpiada Ivanova  Russia
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Jane Saville  Australia
← 2000
2008 →

The women's 20 kilometres race walk at the 2004 Summer Olympics as part of the athletics program was held through the streets of Athens with the start and finish at the Athens Olympic Stadium on August 23.[1][2]

The race had started with a strong, good-sized bunch of fifty-seven walkers keeping together through the field. As the group left the stadium falling apart, Russia's Olimpiada Ivanova took the front of the pack on the opening 2k laps, followed by several of the anticipated favorites, which included 2000 Olympic champion Wang Liping, the Australian sisters Jane and Natalie Saville, and the Greek duo Athina Papayianni and Athanasia Tsoumeleka.

By the half way mark, fourteen walkers were still in close contention with Ivanova maintaining the lead and Belarus' Ryta Turava staying beside her to shorten the gap. As the Belarusian began to lose contact, Ivanova steadily broke away from the group to own the race, until Jane Saville set the pace much faster to chase her on the succeeding lap. With just 2k left to go, home favorite Tsoumeleka zoomed past the two remaining chasers Ivanova and Saville on a late charge to quickly build up a seemingly insurmountable lead.

Entering the Olympic Stadium with a rapturous welcome from the partisan crowd, Tsoumeleka walked jubilantly into the final stretch to deliver the Greeks their first ever Olympic track and field gold medal at these Games. She finished the race in 1:29.12, just four seconds ahead of the eventual silver medalist Ivanova.[3] Meanwhile, Saville had finally erased her setback of being disqualified at the Sydney Olympics four years earlier to successfully claim the bronze, holding Turava off the podium to fourth.[4][5]


Prior to the competition, the existing World and Olympic records were as follows.

World record  Wang Yan (CHN) 1:26:22 Guangzhou, China 19 November 2001
Olympic record  Wang Liping (CHN) 1:29:05 Sydney, Australia 28 September 2000

No new records were set during the competition.


The qualification period for athletics was 1 January 2003 to 9 August 2004. For the women's 20 kilometres race walk, each National Olympic Committee was permitted to enter up to three athletes that had run the race in 1:33:30 or faster during the qualification period. If an NOC had no athletes that qualified under that standard, one athlete that had run the race in 1:38:00 or faster could be entered.


All times are Greece Standard Time (UTC+2)

Date Time Round
Monday, 23 August 2004 09:00 Final


Rank Name Nationality Result Notes
1st place, gold medalist(s) Athanasia Tsoumeleka  Greece 1:29.12 PB
2nd place, silver medalist(s) Olimpiada Ivanova  Russia 1:29.16
3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Jane Saville  Australia 1:29.25
4 Ryta Turava  Belarus 1:29:39
5 Melanie Seeger  Germany 1:29:52
6 Elisa Rigaudo  Italy 1:29:57
7 María Vasco  Spain 1:30:06
8 Wang Liping  China 1:30:16
9 Elena Ginko  Belarus 1:30:22
10 Athina Papayianni  Greece 1:30:37
11 Rossella Giordano  Italy 1:30:39
12 Kjersti Plätzer  Norway 1:30:49 SB
13 Yuliya Voyevodina  Russia 1:31:02
14 Song Hongjuan  China 1:31:27
15 Valentina Tsybulskaya  Belarus 1:31:49
16 Sabine Zimmer  Germany 1:31:59
17 Yelena Nikolayeva  Russia 1:32:16
18 Elisabetta Perrone  Italy 1:32:21 SB
19 Kristina Saltanovič  Lithuania 1:32:22
20 Susana Feitor  Portugal 1:32:47
21 Sylwia Korzeniowska  Poland 1:33:06
22 Zuzana Maliková  Slovakia 1:33:17
23 Sonata Milušauskaitė  Lithuania 1:33:36
24 Barbora Dibelková  Czech Republic 1:33:37
25 Inês Henriques  Portugal 1:33:53
26 Maribel Gonçalves  Portugal 1:33:59
27 Norica Câmpean  Romania 1:34:30
28 Svetlana Tolstaya  Kazakhstan 1:34:43
29 Ana Maria Groza  Romania 1:34:56
30 Rocío Florido  Spain 1:35:32
31 Hristina Kokotou  Greece 1:35:43
32 Jiang Jing  China 1:35:56
33 Yeliz Ay  Turkey 1:36:02
34 Victoria Palacios  Mexico 1:36:07
35 Yuan Yufang  Malaysia 1:36:34
36 Natalie Saville  Australia 1:36:54
37 Daniela Cîrlan  Romania 1:37:14
38 Cheryl Webb  Australia 1:37:40
39 Marie Polli  Switzerland 1:37:53
40 Mayumi Kawasaki  Japan 1:37:56
41 Geovana Irusta  Bolivia 1:38:36
42 Vira Zozulya  Ukraine 1:38:45
43 Teresa Vaill  United States 1:38:47
44 Edina Füsti  Hungary 1:39:45
45 Anita Liepiņa  Latvia 1:39:54
46 Sandra Zapata  Colombia 1:42:22
47 Nicolene Cronje  South Africa 1:42:37
48 Alessandra Picagevicz  Brazil 1:46:21
49 Teresita Collado  Guatemala 1:46:41
50 Yelena Kuznetsova  Kazakhstan 1:49:08
51 Yolene Raffin  Mauritius 1:49:28
52 Fumilay Fonseca  São Tomé and Príncipe 2:04:54 PB
Olive Loughnane  Ireland DNF
Rosario Sánchez  Mexico DNF
Nevena Mineva  Bulgaria DNF
María Teresa Gargallo  Spain DSQ
Kim Mi-jung  South Korea DSQ


  1. ^ "IAAF Athens 2004: Women's 20km Race Walk Final". Athens 2004. IAAF. Retrieved 17 October 2015.
  2. ^ "Athletics at the 2004 Athens Summer Games: Women's 20 kilometres Walk". Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  3. ^ Berlin, Peter (23 August 2004). "A hunter is hunted down in 800". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  4. ^ Arcoleo, Laura (23 August 2004). "Surprise Greek win – Women's 20km Race Walk Olympic report". IAAF. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  5. ^ "Greece wins walk gold". BBC Sport. 23 August 2004. Retrieved 18 October 2015.

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