Ernesto Canto was the next Mexican race walking star after Daniel Bautista and Raúl González. Canto came into prominence after winning the 20 km walk at the 1981 IAAF World Race Walking Cup. After winning the 20 km walk at the inaugural World Championships in 1983, as well as the 20 km walk gold at the 1983 Pan-American Games and 20 km silver at the 1983 IAAF World Race Walking Cup, he was considered the favorite for 20 km walk gold at the 1984 Olympics. Canto did not disappoint, winning the gold medal comfortably seven seconds ahead of compatriot González who was better known as a 50 km walk specialist.
After his Olympic triumph Canto continued competing, but with less success. He won bronze in the 5K walk at the 1987 World Indoor Championships, but was disqualified at the 1988 Olympics. Canto also won the 20 km walk silver at the 1988 Ibero-American Championships, and won the 20 km walk at the 1990 Pan-American Race Walking Cup. His last major win came at the 1990 Goodwill Games, where he won the 20K track walk.
Personal Bests: 20kmW – 1-18:40 (1984); 50kmW – 3-51:10 (1982).