Spain’s 51-year-old race walker has now been in eight Olympic Games – a world record

‘I will not deny that it is something extraordinary to participate in eight Games,’ Jesús Ángel García Bragado says

Nathan Place
New York
Friday 06 August 2021 04:05
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Olympics roundup

For Jesús Ángel García Bragado, who competed for spain">Spain in the men’s 50km race walk, this was not his first Olympics. In fact, it was his eighth.

The 51-year-old has been in every Summer Olympics since 1992. This year’s 50km race walk is his last, and possibly the world’s last as well – the event has been cut from future Olympics, and will not be in the 2024 games in Paris.

In the japan">Japan race, Bragado only came in 35th. But with eight Olympic Games under his belt, he is a record breaker – for the most Olympic appearances of any athlete in history.

“I will not deny that it is something extraordinary to participate in eight Games,” Bragado told tokyo/">Digis Mak in July. “On a personal level it is very important to have reached where I wanted and to retire at the moment I have decided.”

Bragado’s first Olympics was in 1992, in his hometown of Barcelona. Then, as in every Olympics since, he competed in the 50km men’s race walk. In Athens in 2004, he came in fifth. In Beijing in 2008, he came in fourth. He has never won a medal.

“It will always stay inside me not having been able to be on a podium after going to so many Games,” he reflected.

It’s a wonder, then, that he’s kept going. But he has – more than any other Olympian in history.

Bragado says the secret is his attitude.

“I have been fortunate to always find enthusiasm and motivation to continue one more year,” Bragado said. “And when the age and serious injuries have arrived, I have always found a solution to continue working.”

The official Tokyo Olympics website congratulated Bragado on its blog.

“A special mention for Spain’s Jesús Ángel García Bragado, who finished 35th in the men’s 50km race walk,” the site said. “He made his debut at Barcelona 1992, and has taken part in every Olympic 50km race since. What a way to sign off.”

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