16/08/2021   Volodymir Stepanovyc Golubnycyi (UKR) died today




Volodymir Stepanovyc Golubnycyi died this afternoon.

Born in Sumy (UKR) on 2 June 1936, he was one of the greatest marchers of the then Soviet Union. He was also one of the few athletes who participated in five or more Olympics, focusing on the 20km internationally.
Golubnuchyi twice won gold in the 20km walk at the Olympic Games: the first time in Rome 1960 (1:34 07.2) in front of Australian Noel Freeman and the second in Mexico City 1968 (1:33:58.4) beating the Mexican Jose Sargento Pedraza in a memorable final.
He also won silver in Munich 1972 and bronze in Tokyo 1964.
Even in the European Championships his palmares were extremely enviable.
He started in 1962 with a bronze in Belgrade.
In 1966 he obtained the silver medal in Budapest and ended his career with the victory at the 1974 European Championships in Rome.
He was a talented cross country skier in his teenage years but also used race walking in the spring for training. However, just starting out at the Kyiv physical education institute in 1953 with the intention of becoming a ski instructor, Golubnychy had a chance meeting with one of the lecturers, former USSR weightlifting champion Zosima Petrovich Sinitsky, who convinced him to become more serious about race walking.
He set his first 20km world record at the age of just 19 in 1955, but missed the Melbourne Olympics the following year due to a severe liver infection, which was thought to be a symptom of his malnourished childhood during the Second World War.
It took Golubnychy a full year to fully recover, but in 1958, after the accolade changed hands three more times, Golubnychy regained the world record of 20km with a time of 1:27:04 which would remain the world standard for nearly nine years. 
Nevertheless, Golubnychy was far from the favourite for the 20km walk at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games after finishing just fifth in a track race but he repaid the Soviet selectors' faith handsomely.
After taking the lead just before the halfway point, he was never headed all the way to the line.
Four years later in Tokyo, he suffered from headaches soon after the start and had a fall but hung on to take the bronze medal.
In 1968, at altitude in Mexico City, he reinforced his reputation for preparing meticulously for the big occasion when he famously held off the local hope Jose Pedraza, being urged on by a fanatical local crowd and with some very questionable technique, to win by a mere three metres.
Holubnychy finished second at the 1972 Olympics in Munich but returned to the top step of the podium two years later, winning his first European title when that year’s championships were held appropriately in the city of his first major international triumph, the Italian capital Rome.
Marcia dal Mondo's condolences to family members.