From fourth to bronze and back down again.
That was the difficult ride race walker Evan Dunfee endured after nearly four hours of competition in exhausting heat.
After making a successful pass for third in the last lap of the draining 50 kilometre race walk, Dunfee was bumped by Japan’s Hirooki Arai and left to finish in fourth place, out of rhythm, energy and hope for an Olympic medal.
RELATED: Dunfee’s 50km race in photos
Nonethless, Dunfee staggered to the finish line with every ounce of his remaining strength (endurance athletes can attest how difficult it is to come back from an impediment), before falling to the ground in the Pontal area of Rio’s Barra zone.
Once he had physically recovered, Dunfee learned that Canada successfully challenged, and won, a claim against Arai for interference, disqualifying the Japanese walker and bumping the Canadian up to the bronze medal position.
However, the subsequent medal ceremony in Pontal was called off as Japan launched a protest against the decision, won their appeal, and Arai was restored to the bronze medal position.
Despite this difficult ending to Dunfee’s Olympic Games, the courageous Canadian can take pride in two outstanding performances in the 20km and 50km race walk events.
Dunfee was 10th in the shorter distance and now officially fourth in the longer race walk competition and can look back at the Games knowing he gave an honest account of himself right to the end.
The original race recap, with Dunfee winning the 50km bronze is below.
Canada has an Olympic bronze medallist in race walking with Evan Dunfee reeling in the medal following an appeal against Japan.
On the last lap of the arduous 50 kilometre race, Dunfee made a move for third place against Japanese walker Hirooki Arai. After Dunfee passed his competitor, Arai made a move on the inside, bumping the Canadian, who was thrown off his rhythm after more than three and a half hours of taxing work under the hot Rio de Janeiro sun.
Canada appealed against Arai’s bronze, a claim that was upheld, giving Dunfee the medal – Canada’s 19th of Rio 2016.
Finishing at three hours, 41 minutes and 38 seconds for a national record, Dunfee crossed the finish line and collapsed. The winner of the race was Matej Toth of Slovakia (3:40:58) while Jared Tallent of Australia (3:41.16) was second.