How the Olympic Sport of Race Walking Works and Why It Looks So Strange

Vox contributors Brian Resnick and Phil Edwards look at how the Olympic sport of race walking works and why it looks so strange. Race walkers must adhere to a strict set of rules about how they are allowed to move so there is a clear distinction between walking and running, and the result is a unique motion that is almost hypnotic to watch.

Racing 31 miles on foot is no easy feat.

And let’s say you also have to always have at least one foot on the ground. And your knee has to be locked straight whenever you take a step forward. And you can’t float mid-stride to propel yourself forward.