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Rob Heffernan: timeline of his success

The hard work that led Rob Heffernan to his success began long before his debut in the Olympics

1978 - Born February 28 in Cork, Ireland.

2000 - Makes Olympic debut, finishing 28th at the Sydney Games in the 20km race walk.

2001 - Takes more than a minute off his Olympic time, leading to a 14th-place finish at the World Championships in Edmonton.

2007 - Heffernan comes sixth at the World Championships in Osaka, clocking up a 20km time of one hour 23 minutes 42 seconds.

2008 - Comes eighth at the Beijing Olympic Games, having finishing ninth in the World Race Walking Cup.

2009 - Manages a 15th-place finish in the World Championships in Berlin.

2010 - Finishes fourth the 20km walk at the European Championships, just 11 seconds away from bronze medal. Three days later he finishes fourth again in the 50km walk in a national record time of 3:45:30.

2012 - Comes agonisingly close to glory again at London 2012, finishing the Olympic 50km in fourth place.

2013 - Holder of eight national senior race-walking records, he set a new 3,000m best in July. Wins the 50km race walk at the World Championships in Moscow, finishing more than a minute ahead of home favourite Mikhail Ryzhov in a world-leading 3:37:56.

PA Media