PHOENIX, Arizona, April 30. ONE year ago today, the swimming community mourned the loss of world champion Alexander Dale Oen, who passed away in Flagstaff, Ariz., after a sudden heart attack.
At age 26, he was training for the Olympic Games with the Norwegian national team when he collapsed in a shower in his hotel room. An autopsy revealed a blood clot that likely came from recent shoulder injury that went undetected.
In the months following his death, friends and rivals saluted Dale Oen in their post-race actions. Cameron van der Burgh and Daniel Gyurta pointed skyward after winning the 100 and 200 breaststrokes, respectively, at the Olympics. Gyurta presented a special medal to Dale Oen's brother earlier this year, and van der Burgh visited Dale Oen's grave earlier this month during a visit to Norway to swim in the Dale Oen Memorial Meet in Bergen.
Many of the tweets paying respect to Dale Oen today were in Norwegian, save for this one from Norwegian golfer Suzann Pettersen:
— Suzann Pettersen (@suzannpettersen) April 30, 2013
The organizers of the FINA world championships in Barcelona also tweeted their respects to 2011's 100 breaststroke world champion:
First aniversary of the death of the Alexander Dale Oen. We will never forget
— Bcn2013 (@bcn2013) April 30, 2013
One week before Dale Oen's passing, Swimming World's Jeff Commings traveled to Flagstaff to do what turned out be Dale Oen's last interview.