From the start of the race, defending champion Olga Kaniskina took the lead, only Liu Hong would go with her. The two opened up a big gap with a chase pack of a Guatemalan, the other 2 Russians, other 2 Chinese. By the end of 8K the pack began to lose walkers, Mirna Ortíz and Johanna Jackson were disqualified, and Liu began to lose contact, Kaniskina off on her own. Shortly after the half way mark, the pack was down to Elena Lashmanova and Anisya Kirdyapkina leading Xiuzhi Lu and Shenjie Qieyang An hour into the race and Lu began to lose contact, Lashmanova,Kirdyapkina and Qieyang chasing and then swallowing up Liu. By 14 km Kaniskina had a 33-second lead. Almost unnoticeable, the gap between Kaniskina and the chasers had come down to 24 seconds at 16 km, Kirdyapkina and then Liu struggling to stay with the group. After another 2K lap, the gap was down to 17 seconds at 18 km, still seemingly insurmountable with just one lap to go. With Kaniskina looking strong, the gap kept falling. Kaniskina started to show the strain, as the pass became inevitable she began the most pronounced arm swing trying to find that last bit of speed, but it wasn't enough. Less than 200 metres from the finish Lashmanova went by Kaniskina and on to the gold carpet. Lashmanova finished with a 1:25:02 world record. Broken Kaniskina finished 7 seconds back, just a second slower than the previous world record. Qieyang happily finished another 7 seconds later for bronze. After the finish, Kaniskina was barely able to walk, while a fresh Lashmanova celebrated her victory.[not in citation given]
On 24 March 2016, the Court of Arbitration for Sport has issued decision that all competitive results obtained by Olga Kaniskina from 15 August 2009 to 15 October 2012 are disqualified. IOC has not yet confirmed the Olga Kaniskina's deprivation of her silver medal in women's 20 km walk and redistribution of the medals in this event. If the IOC will decide on the reallocation of the medals, Qieyang Shenjie (CHN) will get Silver and Liu Hong (CHN) will get Bronze.