THE FOLLOWING FEATURE WAS WRITTEN BY TrackField97.com. IT PROVIDES A GREAT OVERVIEW OF MY OLYMPIC EXPERIENCE. THANKS AGAIN FOR EVERYONE SUPPORT!
Feature by: Stewart for www.trackfield97.com
It was only a few months ago that TrackField97.com started featuring race walking on our web site and amongst our first featured athletes included Canadian national champion and now 2012 Olympian Inaki Gomez.
Prior to our first feature in June, Inaki Gomez had achieved the qualifying A-standard for the men’s 20k race walk at the London 2012 Olympic Summer Games not once but three times within the first year of the qualifying period for the Olympics. “My first qualifying walk came in Naumburg, Germany in 2011. That being my first A-standard it was also the most memorable. I crossed the line in a time of 1:22:06”.
“The emotions were of joy and relief. At that point, I felt that I could begin to focus on the next season (2012), and have a good plan to perform in London at the Games”.
Inaki went on to show good form as he achieved the A-Standard twice in the 2012 season with amazing performances in Taicang, China and at the IAAF World Race Walk Cup in Saransk
Russia. The times were 1:21:05 and 1:21:58, respectively.
Upon establishing the Olympic A-Standard, his friends and family who have been giving him amazing support throughout his young career were absolutely overwhelmed and happy for him.
“Everyone in my support group knows how long I have been working for this opportunity. They were all excited to get the opportunity to share this amazing experience with me. Many family and friends also made the trek to London to share it all with me”.
At the Canadian trials in June, Inaki participated in not a 20k, but a 10k distance and Inaki recalls his experience at the Championships: “Rather than having a 20km race, Athletics
Canada put together a 10km race to give us the opportunity to meet the final part of the criteria (finishing within the top 3) and also allowing us to have a month recovery before the race in London”.
“My approach to the trials was a bit unique. Being the only one with an A-standard, I was only required to finish in the top three. Despite the fact that we have two other top caliber walkers in Canada, they were unable to achieve the A-standard within the qualifying period allowing me to come into the trials with a more relaxed approach. I was focused on finishing in the top 3 and using this 10km race as more of a workout/tune-up session.
After the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Trials, Inaki went into final preparations for the London 2012 Games: “I travelled to St. Moritz, Switzerland to join the Australian Race walkers, Jared Tallent and Chris Erickson, to take part in an altitude Pre-Olympic Camp. Other walkers also joined us there, Isamu Fujisawa (Japan) and Quentin Rew (NZ), which made for a great training group. I stayed in St. Moritz until the 22nd of July, and I then travelled to London for a two day visit of the Olympic Village. This also served as an opportunity for me to get my accreditation and Team uniform for the games.
With the Race walking community being quite close, Inaki has been quite fortunate to become good friends with the top Australian walkers. Over the past 2 years, he has trained with Jared Tallent, who is undoubtedly one of the best walkers over the past 5 years. He has admired Tallent’s ability to always perform at the major championships. The shared friendship and training together also played a key role in Inaki’s preparation for the Games.
After going through the accreditation process for the Games, Athletics Canada sent Inaki back to Germany 3 days later, where he would spend yet another week putting together his final week of training prior to the race. “This was also a great opportunity to stay away from all the distractions that come with being at a village full of athletes from around the world. I traveled back to London on the 1st of August and settled myself in the village for 2 days before the big day”.
Going into the race, Inaki wasn’t particularly emotional however he was definitely feeling honored knowing that he was representing his country on the biggest stage in athletics. “Having
represented Canada at many Games and Championships, I felt like this was very similar. Nonetheless, one can’t forget that the Olympic Games are the pinnacle of our sport, so it definitely had a special feel to it.
In speaking on his general Olympic experience, Inaki didn’t have the opportunity to participate in the opening ceremony due to his Pre-Olympic Camp in Germany. He didn’t feel totally left out as all the Canadian athletes at the camp had a celebration dinner in the town center of Kamen, Germany, and afterwards they then went back to their training center to watch the ceremony live on a big screen as a group.
“The Olympic village was very similar to other villages that I’ve been at. The food court is always overwhelmingly big with lots of choices, so one has to be careful to not over eat. Other than that, the set up of the village was quite relaxed and welcoming”.
Inaki took us through his performance at the Games and also the experience gained: “I am very proud with the way I managed to race on the day at the Games. I executed the race plan as my coach and I had wanted. Having finished in the top 16 at the IAAF World Race Walking Cup, we knew that I was capable of doing something similar at the Olympics so I went ahead with the same focus”.
“I went out with the big group allowing for the leaders to set the pace. I was confident that my speed and fitness would allow me to carry on with them. At 10km I went through in a time of 40:24 around 20th position. From then onwards, I began picking up those people ahead of me. With the help of a couple of DQs and a DNF, I was able to move my way up to 13th position in the final lap. Knowing that this was in the bag, I enjoyed the final lap.
“The loud chants and screams from the crowds made the experience all the more rewarding especially when I crossed the finish line in a new personal best of 1:20:58, which was also a new Canadian Record. It was definitely an honor to prove myself at a major championship once again and be able to break a record that I’ve been after all season at the biggest stage. It was great to put together what both my coach and I had planned all along, a good performance”.
“In terms of experienced gained, I definitely believe that I feel confident in my ability to race the
big guys now. Having competed at the IAAF Race Walk Challenge and other major races I had the opportunity to race most of the competitors that were at the Games so their presence and ability was no real shock to me, I was definitely prepared. Being able to prove myself in two major races this year finishing in the top-16, I know that I can take this a bit further in years to come. The Olympic experience in itself has shown me that I will be ready to push for a medal in 4 years, the plan begins now”.
Looking ahead into the future, we asked Inaki how much competing at the London Olympics motivated him as an athlete: “Any time someone gets the opportunity to have this experience,
the hunger and eagerness to improve grows”. He is looking forward to carrying this momentum forward to the next few years and is highly motivated to move into the top 5 rankings, and eventually podium positions over the next four years.
In a few days, Inaki Gomez will be returning to Canada where he will be heading back to the University of Calgary to begin a degree in Law. He will be juggling between studies and training over the next couple of years to not only further his progression in race walking, but also get his education and long-term career to the next level. “I have always found the need to have a balanced life, and I believe this to be a right step moving ahead”.
As for the distant future, he will continue to focus on moving up the rankings over the next few years. “Leading to Rio, my coach and I are definitely looking to make a something special
happen in Brazil, so we will be aiming for a medal there”.
TrackField97.com would like to thank our featured Canadian elite race walker for taking the time to share his London 2012 Olympic experience with us. We wish Inaki Gomez the best of
luck in is studies and look forward to seeing him on the podium in Rio.
See our previous feature on Inaki Gomez: http://trackfield97.com/inaki-gomez-canadian-race-walker-2012-olympic-qualifier/
Facts about Inaki Gomez:
- Sponsor: Asics Canada (ACA)
- Club: Racewalk West
- Coaches: Gerry Dragomis and Blair Miller
Best Known Performaces:
- Mile Race Walk (track) – 5:46.40
- 5,000m Race Walk (track) – 18:45.64
- 10,000m Race Walk (track) – 40:01.00
- 10km Race Walk (road) – 40:32.00
- 20,000m Race Walk (track) – 1:24:48.00
- 20km Race Walk (road) – 1:20:58 (Canadian Record)
- J.D. Candidate, University of Calgary, 2015
- Graduated from the University of British Columbia, Major in International Relations, 2011
- Graduated from Vancouver College High School, 2006
Follow Inaki on Twitter: @InakiGomezG