Robyn Stevens taking Olympic Trials, 20k, photo by Jeff Salvage/Racewalk.com
Sam Fariss did piece #14 on Olympic race walker, Robyn Stevens. Enjoy this piece.
Run by Women #14: The art of race walking
By Sam Fariss
Robyn Stevens’ zoom window lit up and within moments I could tell we were about to have a good, emotional, genuine interview. Her personality is apparent before she even begins to speak, and you can tell that she is exceptionally passionate about the things she does.
One of those things? Race walking. Not just any race walking, Olympic race walking.
“I saw it for the first at Stanford and I thought it was really beautiful. When it’s done right it’s beautiful… My parents were telling me I had to pick track and field or dance, and by race walking, I got to do both,” Stevens said.
Stevens talks about the professional sport as though it’s an art, and it is. Track is already one of the most graceful sports to exist but race walking is elegant. It appears as though the athletes are levitating through the course despite the fact that they have to always be grounded.
And Stevens does it so well, the best that an American woman has done it in decades. But she doesn’t do it alone. Her boyfriend, Nick Christie, is a fellow race walker along with her family and friends are her biggest motivation.
“The support group I have around me takes my breath away. The athletes in track and field don’t make a lot of money we make the Olympics and people assume that we get these six-figure jobs and all the endorsements… They, my support group, make it worth it,” Stevens said with a quivering voice as her eyes began to water.
You can see, hear and feel the emotions that Stevens has. She loves the people who are in her life with every molecule of her being.
She finished the Olympic Trials race about four and half minutes before the woman who finished in second. But her biggest takeaway was hugging her mom and a load of anxiety that she still held about Nick’s qualifying time from that day.
I was like oh my gosh it just happened it finally happened but then I looked at Nick and I couldn’t celebrate because this is our thing and we weren’t sure if he had walked the time to qualify yet,” Stevens said.
Stevens has more races in her future, including a few in Europe this year, and is hopeful to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics – a dream “vacation” she has had since she was a little girl.