Daniel Bautista - Mexico - 20km Walk victory at 1976 Olympic Games.

Photo/Foto: George Herringshaw

Date: 23 July 1976

Click on image to enlarge

      Monday, 04 August 1952
      Monterrey, Mexico
  • Mexico
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Daniel BAUTISTA - Mexico - 20km Walk victory at 1976 Olympic Games.


In his relatively short career, Daniel Bautista was a dominant force in international race walking, both on the track and on the road. Bautista first came to international notice when he won the 20km walk at the 1975 Pan-American Games in Mexico City, making him a serious contender for the Olympic title to be contested the following year. At the previous Olympic Games, the three East German entrants had used team tactics to successfully unsettle defending champion Vladimir Golubnichiy (Soviet Union). In the 20km walk at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, held on 23 July, the three East German walkers tried the same team tactics against Bautista, but he successfully held them at bay, surging away near the end to win easily (see photo above) in 1hr 24min 41sec.


The IAAF only officially recognises walking world records on the track at distances of 20km, 30km, and 50km, as well as for 2 hours. Between the 1976 and 1980 Olympic Games, Bautista not only set two official world records for 20km on the track, but also several other 'world best performances' at other track distances and on the road. Bautista also won the biennial IAAF World Race Walking Cup over 20km in both 1977 and 1979. In the 1979 race, held in Eschborn, West Germany, Daniel's time of 1hr 18min 49sec was a world best performance, and the first time that 1hr 20min had been broken at that distance. At the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, Bautista was leading the 20km walk, but was disqualified for lifting when only 1800m from the finish.


He competed in the 50km walk six days later, but dropped out soon after the 30km mark. It seemed that the disqualification from the 20km had broken the Mexican's spirit, and he retired shortly afterwards from international walking. (Ron Casey)