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From Barcelona '92 to Tokyo 2020: 30 years of dedication and Withdrawal

17 | 02 | 2022

On this occasion we have had as our guest in the Sports and Society Forum Jesús Ángel "Chuso" García Bragado, a race walker who has participated in eight Olympic Games, 13 World Championships and 7 European Championships.

Barcelona 92 was the reason that made him start, as a student at high school Tajamar. He pointed out that these Olympic Games were a milestone in Spanish sport and marked a before and after. The brilliant organisation, the ADO Plan and the great results obtained, which paid off in the medal count.

After finishing his professional training , he decided to change his course and to pursue an academic career in sport.

At the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart he won the gold medal. The other side of the coin came at the 1994 Helsinki European Championships, where Spain won a hat-trick and Chuso came fourth. In his exhibition he mentioned reference letter the important role played in his sporting life by Xabier Leibar, thanks to whom he has achieved so much success.

In Atlanta 96 and with great sporting experience, he had to retire. He thought it was time to take a turn in his degree program and moved to live in Catalonia. It was there that he met Jordi Llopart, a reference and pioneer in race walking. Jordi helped him to change the approach of his training and competition.

Disqualifications and withdrawals helped him change his training and racing habits after Sydney 2000. It was then that he was allowed to be his own coach. From then on he started to have good results: medal in 2001 in Edmonton, medal in 2002 in Munich, finalist in Paris in 2003, diploma in the 2004 Olympic Games and medal in 2006 in Göteborg.

In 2006, at the age of 35, and due to injuries, he had to rethink again his way of preparing, dosing himself, in order to stay at the highest level. Despite the difficulties, he decided to go to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, achieving 4th place.

In Berlin 2009, at the age of 38, he won the silver medal at the World Athletics Championships, 16 years after becoming World Champion in Stuttgart 1993. In London 2012, he caught up with Manel Estiarte in terms of Olympic participation. It was his sixth Olympic Games and he began to combine sport with political activity as a councillor in a town council in the province of Barcelona.

And from Moscow 2013, Zurich 2014 and Beijing 2015 onwards, Chuso's Philosophy was to enjoy, as Cholo Simeone says "match by match". In Beijing 2015 he obtained a 9th place and, given his sporting trajectory, he was allowed to attend Rio 2016. At that time he was already 46 years old and had been treated for an injury.

He tells the anecdote that on 4 August, while in Rio de Janeiro, when he arrived at the dining room of the Olympic Village, the entire Spanish delegation was waiting for him to give him a standing ovation in recognition of his sporting career and his spirit of self-improvement. He took part in the World Championships in Doha 2019, obtaining an 8th place that allowed him to participate in Tokyo 2021.