Which athlete won the first ever gold medal awarded in the World Championships in Athletics?
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. 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.
Veniamin Vasilievich Soldatenko (born 4 January 1939) is a retired Soviet athlete who competed mainly in the 50 km walk. He acquired Kazakhstani citizenship after the dissolution of the Soviet Union.