Race walker picks up historic silver at Games

The 18-year-old, who is representing Yukon on the track at the Western Canada Summer Games this week, won a silver medal in the 5,000-metre race walk on Monday in Fort McMurray, Alta.

Whitehorse’s Brody Smith has walked his way into the history books.

The 18-year-old, who is representing Yukon on the track at the Western Canada Summer Games this week, won a silver medal in the 5,000-metre race walk on Monday in Fort McMurray, Alta.

Smith is the first Yukoner ever to win a medal in athletics at a major Games.

“I feel really proud,” said Smith. “I just started race walking this summer, so I’ve been training all summer for it. I don’t really have any background in it, this is my first race in race walk.”

Smith finished with a time of 36 minutes and 36.46 seconds, placing second behind B.C.’s Erik Thies.

He is also the first Yukon athlete to compete in race walking – a long-distance form of racing in which one foot must always be in contact with the ground – at a major Games.

“Brody is the first person I could talk into trying it and he did fine,” said Yukon athletics head coach Don White. “We made the offer to a number of athletes and Brody was the only one who took us up on it.

“As far as him winning a medal, it’s the first medal that has been earned by a (Yukon) athlete in track and field at any of the major Games since we started taking kids out.”

Smith also took part in the 800-metre race walk on Sunday, but did not advance to the final.

“It went ok. I went too hard at the start, I was with the group of the really fast people … but I was happy with it,” said Smith.

“It’s really amazing. Fort McMurray has been going really hard, you can tell, put a lot of money into it,” he added. “We’re having a lot of fun, everyone is setting lots of PBs (personal bests), everyone is really happy.”

Smith, who also represented Yukon in track at the 2013 Canada Summer Games, will next race the 4×400-metre relay run with Yukon teammates on Tuesday.

Smith’s silver is the second medal for Yukon at this week’s Games that started on Friday. Whitehorse’s Hannah King won a bronze in judo for the female 57-63 kilogram division on Sunday.

By the end the weekend Yukon’s athletics team had posted numerous personal bests and a few Yukon records.

Aidan Bradley set a Yukon record in the 400-metre with a time of 52:53 for 11th; Levi Johnson set a Yukon record in the 7.26-kilogram hammer throw with a distance of 29.39 metres for 11th; and Katie

Vowk set another Yukon record in javelin with 27.98 metres for 10th.

“It’s the first time we’ve had a lot of kids competing at this level in some of the sports – especially with the throws,” said White. “At other events they’ve gone out to, they’ve competed at age class, so the weights they’ve been using have been lower. Everyone competing here is using an open weight class implements and that’s where all the personal bests and age class records are being set. The shot puts are heavier, the discus are heavier, the hammers are heavier.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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