1976 World Championships in Athletics
The race started and finished in Malmö Stadion
Host cityMalmö, Sweden
Nations participating20
Athletes participating42
Events1 – men's 50 km walk
Dates18 September 1976
Officially opened byKing Carl XVI Gustaf
Main venueMalmö Stadion

The 1976 World Championships in Athletics was the first global, international athletics competition organised by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). Hosted on 18 September 1976 in Malmö, Sweden, it featured just one event: a men's 50 kilometres race walk contest.[1] The course passed through the streets of the city and the start and finish points were within Malmö Stadion.


Soviet athlete Veniamin Soldatenko (runner-up at the 1972 Olympics) was the gold medallist. This made him the first ever IAAF world champion and at 37 years and 258 days he remains the oldest male athlete to win that accolade. Mexico's Enrique Vera came second and Finnish walker Reima Salonen was third. A total of 42 walkers representing 20 countries entered the championships race and 37 finished, with four failed to finish and one being disqualified.[2]

The International Olympic Committee decided to drop the men's 50 km walk from the Olympic athletics programme for the 1976 Montreal Olympics, despite its constant presence at the games since 1932. The IAAF chose to host its own world championship event instead, a month and a half after the Olympics.[3][4]

It was the first World Championships that the IAAF had hosted separate from the Olympic Games (traditionally the main championship for the sport). This marked the beginning of a move away from this arrangement as a 1976 IAAF Council meeting decided that the organisation would host its own, full-programme, championships on a quadrennial basis. The two-race 1980 World Championships in Athletics filled in for the lack of a women's 400 metres hurdles and 3000 metres run at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The competition came of age at the 41-event 1983 World Championships in Athletics, which is considered the first edition proper.[5][6]


Standing records prior to the 1976 World Athletics Championships
World record  Bernd Kannenberg (GDR) 3:52:45 27 May 1972 Bremen, West Germany
Championship record New event


Rank Name Nationality Time Notes
1 Veniamin Soldatenko  Soviet Union 3:54:40 CR
2 Enrique Vera  Mexico 3:58:14
3 Reima Salonen  Finland 3:58:53
4 Domingo Colín  Mexico 4:00:34
5 Matthias Kröl  East Germany 4:00:58
6 Yevgeniy Lyungin  Soviet Union 4:04:36
7 Paolo Grecucci  Italy 4:04:59
8 Ralf Knütter  East Germany 4:05:41
9 Gerhard Weidner  West Germany 4:06:20
10 Yevgeniy Yevsyukov  Soviet Union 4:07:14
11 Bogusław Kmiecik  Poland 4:09:30
12 Steffan Müller  East Germany 4:10:17
13 Bob Dobson  Great Britain 4:10:20
14 Agustí Jorba Argentí [es]  Spain 4:11:04
15 Lennart Lundgren  Sweden 4:11:43
16 Heinrich Schubert  West Germany 4:11:55
17 Franco Vecchio  Italy 4:12:14
18 Bohdan Bułakowski  Poland 4:13:20
19 Hans Binder  West Germany 4:13:49
20 Seppo Immonen  Finland 4:15:28
21 Larry Young  United States 4:16:47
22 Willy Sawall  Australia 4:18:27
23 Timothy Ericsson  Australia 4:20:23
24 Ferenc Danovsky  Hungary 4:22:36
25 Stefan Ingvarsson  Sweden 4:26:45
26 Lucien Faber  Luxembourg 4:26:48
27 August Hirt  United States 4:28:35
28 Pat Farrelly  Canada 4:29:54
29 Robin Whyte  Australia 4:30:08
30 Shaul Ladany  Israel 4:33:02
31 Claude Saurriat  France 4:34:57
32 Roy Thorpe  Great Britain 4:35:57
33 Glen Sweazey  Canada 4:36:00
34 Max Grob   Switzerland 4:38:08
35 Nico Schroten  Netherlands 4:42:53
36 Helmut Bueck  Canada 4:50:52
37 Henry Klein  United States Virgin Islands 5:09:04
Gérard Lelièvre  France DNF
Carl Lawton  Great Britain DNF
Fred Godwin  United States DNF
Vittorio Visini  Italy DNF
Bengt Simonsen  Sweden DQ



  1. ^ Archive of Past Events. IAAF. Retrieved on 2013-09-08.
  2. ^ IAAF Statistics Book Moscow 2013 (pg. 20). IAAF/AFTS (2013). Edited by Mark Butler. Retrieved on 2013-09-09.
  3. ^ Matthews, Peter (2012). Historical Dictionary of Track and Field (pg. 217). Scarecrow Press (eBook). Retrieved on 2013-09-08.
  4. ^ IAAF Statistics Book Moscow 2013 (pg. 179). IAAF/AFTS (2013). Edited by Mark Butler. Retrieved on 2013-09-09.
  5. ^ IAAF World Championships in Athletics. GBR Athletics. Retrieved on 2013-09-08.
  6. ^ "12th IAAF World Championships In Athletics: IAAF Statistics Handbook. Berlin 2009" (PDF). Monte Carlo: IAAF Media & Public Relations Department. 2009. p. 153. Archived from the original (pdf) on 23 November 2012. Retrieved 5 August 2009.