BERGEN, Norway, April 18. CAMERON van der Burgh visited the grave of friend and competitor Alexander Dale Oen today on the eve of participating in the Bergen Swim Festival, which has unofficially been renamed the Alexander Dale Oen Memorial Meet.
Issues with getting a visa prevented van der Burgh from attending Dale Oen's funeral last year, so today's visit marked the first time van der Burgh was able to pay his respects. Dale Oen passed away on April 30, 2012, from what was later deemed an undiagnosed blood clot.
A crew from Norway TV station TV2 Sporten captured van der Burgh's gravesite visit today, as well as a visit with Robin Dale Oen, who is keeping his brother's memory alive through the Dale Oen Experience, which gives young children a physical outlet to cope with hardships.
“It's unreal, actually,” van der Burgh said upon viewing his friend's grave, where he placed a single rose among other flowers. “It's touching just to be there.”
TV2's video also includes footage of Dale Oen greeting van der Burgh during one of his previous visits to Norway. The two were rivals in the pool, but had visited each other's countries to train together often.
Van der Burgh had long planned to attend this year's Bergen meet, which was set to take place just days after Dale Oen's death last year but later canceled. As such, van der Burgh made a brief appearance at the South African nationals this week, swimming the prelims and semifinals of the 100 breast and earning qualification for the world championships. He had to scratch from the finals when delays postponed the meet for two days.