from Prague to Munich, from Lopart’s gold to a historic week

empty out of World Championships in Athletics held a few weeks ago Eugene it was a hard stick. The Spanish march went without adding a medal in just six races of this caliber, three of which were the last three (London 2017, Doha 2019 and Eugene 2022). That is why the achievement in this Munich European.

Spain will return from Germany with four medals in running (two gold, one silver and one bronze). Only in Berlin 2018, the previous European, performed slightly better (two gold and two silver). The continental race is the fetish race where the tradition of race walking has become eternal.

There are now 22 medals that Spain have won at the Europeans, more than at the World Championships (17) and, of course, than at games Olympics (5). It has been 44 years since our athlete threw first place in walking and athletics in general, apart from gold and in an international athletics competition. Your name: Jordi Lopart.

[La ilusión en el atletismo español y el ocaso en la natación camino a los JJOO de París 2024]

The march already has a tradition in Spain, but in 1978 it reached the general public. The milestone achieved by Lopart at the European Championship held in Prague. The sport did not start with football, but with his victory in 50 kilometers.

A Spaniard stepped onto the top drawer of the podium at a major athletics competition for the first time, the king of sports when it comes to the Games. Lopart was a pioneer and the march stuck the flag forever. Two years later, in Moscow 1980the Catalan won silver and established himself as the first Olympic medalist in Spanish athletics.

22 European medals

There are only four other Spanish pedestrians who have reached the podium at some Olympic Games: Daniel Plaza (gold in Barcelona 1992, 20 km), Valenti Massana (bronze in Atlanta 1996, at 50 km), Mary Vasco (bronze in Sydney 2000, at 20 km) and Paquilo Fernandez (silver in Athens 2004, 20 km away). During four games, progress was steady in the medal table, but in the next four the tally remained at zero. This is the other great pending account.

For Europeans, the story is different. From one to another they pass the baton of victory, as reflected in the words of Alvaro Martin after winning his second continental gold in the 20km: “In time my name will be erased and I hope there are other walkers who continue to maintain this legacy that we carry now and that we inherited from legends like Massana, García Bragado, Lopart. ..”.

year I was praying Silver bronze
Prague 1978 Jordi Lopart (50 km)
Athens 1982 Josep Marin (20 and 50 km)
Stuttgart 1986 Marie Cruz Diaz (10 km) Miguel Angel Prieto (20 km)
Split 1990 Daniel Plaza (20 km)
Helsinki 1994 Valenti Massana (20 km)
Budapest 1998 Paquilo Fernandez (20 km)
Munich 2002 Paquilo Fernandez (20 km) Juan Manuel Molina (20 km)

Jesus Angel García Bragado (50 km)

Gothenburg 2006 Paquilo Fernandez (20 km) Jesus Angel García Bragado (50 km)
Barcelona 2010
Helsinki 2012
Zurich 2014 Miguel Angel Lopez (20 km)
Amsterdam 2016
Berlin 2018

Alvaro Martin (20 km)

Maria Perez (20 km)

Diego Garcia Race (20 km)

Julia Takacs (50 km)

Munich 2022

Alvaro Martin (20 km)

Miguel Angel Lopez (35 km)

Raquel Gonzalez (35 km) Diego Garcia Race (20 km)

Alvaro Martin, who dedicated his gold in Munich “to the Spanish march”, is the fourth Spanish pedestrian to be a double European champion after repeating his victory in Berlin on Saturday. the murcian Miguel Angel Lopez He also joined the club this week, although what’s impressive about his achievement is that he achieved it eight years apart.

Pacillo, with Olympic silver between them, won the 20km in 2002 (Munich) and 2006 (Gothenburg). To find the fourth with two gold medals, you have to go back to 1982 (Athens), year in which Joseph Marin He did a historic double at 20 and 50 km. On Shipped from Lobregatlike Lopart, began to practice athletics with Jordi’s father as a coach.

Alvaro Martin and Diego García Carrera, medalists from the European Championships in Munich

Alvaro Martin and Diego García Carrera, medalists from the European Championships in Munich


The two times Alvaro Martin was European Champion, he was accompanied by another Spaniard on the podium, Diego Garcia Carrera. In 2018 it was silver, and four years later bronze. “The hike continues where it always has been. This shower of medals is the proof. We continue to protect the legacy they left us,” said the Madrid native this Saturday in Munich. Before, when he crossed the finish line, he hugged Alvaro in a great gesture of camaraderie.

The fourth medal of the Spanish march at the European was the silver of Rachel Gonzalez, confirming that they too have become accustomed to standing on the podium in recent years. It continues the legacy that Marie Cruz Diaz started at the continental level, pioneering when she won gold in Stuttgart in 1986. Since then, women have won three more medals: the gold at Maria Perez (20 km) and the silver of Julia Takacs (50 km), in 2018, and now Rakel’s (35 km).

“That now you don’t like the style of the Spanish March… well, well”

Maria Perez, of the European in Munich

Maria Perez was one of Spain’s great strengths in Munich. She was the favorite to repeat her gold four years later and in fact she was firmly leading the race for a good stretch. But the disaster was complete when she added three cautions, being penalized two minutes and then disqualified after 18km.

Just like in Eugene. Maria, after the competition, seeks an explanation: “I’ve always tried to have the technique and style of the Spanish march, which I don’t like now… well, well.” The women’s 20km is the only race walk from which Spain did not return with a medal.

The legacy continues

Spain has been on the march for a while and the focus is on Paris 2024, although in 2023 there will again be a World Cup in Budapest. And watch out for those coming up behind, like Alberto Amezcua or Manuel Bermudezwho added two fourth places in Munich; Mark Tourwho dramatically lost bronze in Tokyo; Laura Garcia-Caro, sixth in Eugene; the debutante Antia Chamosa

The great specialist in walking is still Spain. 44 medals in major championships, the same number as in the years since Lopart laid the foundation stone. The legacy is still there, never left.

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