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September 22, 2000
Pole wins 20km walk amidst controversy
The athletics competition at the Sydney Games got off to a controversial start as the first gold medal to be decided -- the men's 20km walk -- went to Poland's Robert Korzeniowski, after apparent winner Bernardo Segura of Mexico was disqualified after crossing the finish line first.
Under walking rules, competitors are disqualified if given three warnings for lifting their feet off the ground while walking. The rule says a portion of a foot must be in contact with the ground at all times.
After a long deliberation, the gold medal was awarded to Korzeniowski as Segura was adjudged to have lost contact with the ground during the final stages of the walk.
Segura had won a close battle with Korzeniowski to cross the line in an unofficial time of one hour 18 minutes 47 seconds, beating the previous best Olympic mark of 1:19.57 set by Czech Jozef Pribilinec in 1988 in Seoul.
Korzeniowski timed 1:18.59 seconds.
Noe Hernandez of Mexico (1:19.03) was hoisted to the silver medal, while Russia Vladimir Andreyev (1:19.27) was awarded the bronze medal.
Segura, 30, had won bronze in Atlanta four years ago.
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