Long walk finally over for Spain’s eight-time Olympian
Long-distance walker Jesus Angel Garcia of Spain confirmed his retirement Friday after completing the men’s 50 kilometers race walk at his eighth Olympics, a Games record in athletics.
The 51-year-old finished 35th in sweltering conditions in Sapporo, crossing the line in 4 hours 10 minutes and 3 seconds, 19:55 behind winner Dawid Tomala of Poland.
All competitors struggled in the heat and Garcia told Spanish media he was sticking with his pre-Games plans to make Tokyo his last Olympics.
“An Olympic legend, it was a pleasure… thanks for everything,” the Spanish Olympic Committee tweeted.
Garcia made his Olympic debut at the 1992 Barcelona Games and recorded his best result when he came fourth in Beijing 2008.
He said before the Tokyo Games that he wanted a final Olympic experience before retiring to become a trainer and resume his podiatry practice.
“Eight Games are enough. I just want to enjoy once more the Olympic magic and then retire to a quieter, more relaxed life,” he said.
The Spanish strider’s eight Olympic appearances are the most in Games track and field, although Canadian equestrian Ian Millar has the all-time attendance record with 10, reaching double figures at London 2012.
Other Olympic veterans in Tokyo include 52-year-old Georgian shooter Nino Salukvadze, on her ninth appearance and Uzbeki gymnast Oksana Chusovitina, 46, on eight.
Australian equestrian Andrew Hoy picked up a silver medal and a bronze in eventing at 62 years of age in his eighth Olympics.