Event: Race Walk
PRs: 20 km - 1:24:48; 50 km - 4:21:06
Born: November 25, 1959 in Seattle, Wash.
Current Residence: Houghton, Mich.
High School: Ballard HS '77
College: University of Colorado '92
Club: Varsanos Chocolates Race Walkers
Career Highlights: 14-time USA champion; two-time World Outdoor Championships team member
Sharp began 2006 in a big way with his runner-up finish at the USA 50 km race walk in Clermont, Florida, in a personal-best time of 4:21:06. His performance qualified him for the 2006 Race Walk World Cup in Spain, where he placed 54th. He last competed in that event in 1987. One of America’s finest race walkers in the 1980s, Ray Sharp retired from competition in 1991 following a three-year struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome. Now healthy again, Sharp began a comeback in 2004. Sharp started his athletic career as a runner and competed for four years on his high school cross country and track teams. After developing sore knees he decided to give race walking a try at the Junior Olympics. By the following year, Sharp moved up in distance and raced the 10 km at Junior Nationals. Winning in a time of 50:54, he qualified with Mike Morris to race against the USSR, Germany, and Great Britain. International experience agreed with Sharp, on the trip he improved his 10 km time to 46:53. From February to April of 1980, Sharp trained and lived in Mexico City. He returned to the U.S. and won the 30 km Nationals, hopped back to Mexico and broke the American record for the 1 hour (13,984 meters). One of the fastest young American race walkers of the 1980s and winner of 14 national titles ranging in distance from two miles to 100 kilometers, Sharp was long on potential but short on consistency in major domestic races. The Kentuckian compiled a record of strong performances on foreign soil while competing in two IAAF championship races (Indoor and Outdoor, 1987), two World Cups (’81,’87), two Pan Am Cups (’86, ’90), the inaugural Goodwill Games (1986) and many other international meets. Sharp was the star of a race walking documentary, "The Long Walk to the Olympics." He was participating at a training camp in Wellington, Fla., and competed at the 15 km Nationals at the end of the camp. As a joke a number of walkers had printed "Team Unattached" racing singlets to indicate they needed a sponsor. Sharp wore one of them…he got a sponsorship from Mazola and a film gig to boot. He lives in Houghton, Michigan, near the shore of Lake Superior, with his wife, Wendy, and three children.
7th at USA Outdoor
Championships (1:35:59)…4th at Chula Vista (4:26:07) ranked #7 at 20
km, #5 at 50 km in U.S. by T&FN…bests of 1:35:59 & 4:26:07.
2006: 2nd at USA. 50 km Champs (4:21:06PR)…54th at World Race Walk Cup (4:30.46)…ranked #2 in U.S…best of 4:21:06.
2005: 6th at USA Outdoors 20 km (1:35:18)...4th at USA 50 km (4:40:53)...12th at Pan Am Cup of RW (4:38:53)...3rd at USA 30 km RW Champs (2:29:40, U.S. Masters 45-49 record)...ranked #6 in U.S. by T&FN...bests of 1:35:18 & 4:38:53.