Five years after he came within seconds of the Olympic podium, Evan Dunfee took that historic step for Canada, winning bronze at Tokyo 2020.
It is Canada’s first ever Olympic medal in the 50km race walk, the longest athletics event.
🚨 Bronze medal for #TeamCanada 🚨— Team Canada (@TeamCanada) August 6, 2021
Evan Dunfee wins Team Canada's first ever Olympic medal 🥉 in the 50km race walk at #Tokyo2020 🎉👏💪
Race walk into the details ➡️ https://t.co/fGg0QYboyi pic.twitter.com/T72J8mZAOr
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau congratulated Evan on his win.
For the latter half of the race, Dunfee was part of a chase group of five behind race leader Dawid Tomala of Poland, who had broken away from the field.
At about the 45km mark, Dunfee was in fifth place, as Germany’s Jonathan Hilbert and Spain’s Marc Tur had separated themselves from the rest of their small chase group. Dunfee was 19 seconds behind those two.
But in the closing kilometres, Tur started to fade, as Hilbert took over second place on his own. Dunfee had Tur in his sights and as they neared the finish line, the Canadian reeled him in and passed him, taking the bronze just nine seconds ahead of the Spaniard and pumping his arms in celebration.
Dunfee came into the Games as the reigning world bronze medallist, having conquered the intense heat at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. That proved to be good preparation, as he exchanged cooling packs around his neck throughout the race. But at one of the last aid stations just before the bell lap, Dunfee dropped the cooling pack he was handed and continued on without it.
The race walks and marathons had been moved to Sapporo in anticipation of high heat in central Tokyo at this time of year. But at 9:00 a.m. local time, it was 29 degrees Celsius, feeling like 35 with 68 per cent humidity.
Photo courtesy of AP/Eugene Hoshiko