FLAGSTAFF, Arizona, May 1. ACCORDING to the Associated Press, Norwegian world champion Alexander Dale Oen passed away due to cardiac arrest during a training camp in Flagstaff, Ariz., late last night at the age of 26. Dale Oen and the Norwegian team have been in Flagstaff for altitude training.
Norway's swimming federation told the Associated Press that Dale Oen was found on the floor of his bathroom last night, and was later pronounced dead at the Flagstaff Medical Center.
“We're all in shock,” Norway Coach Petter Loevberg told the Associated Press. “This is an out-of-the-body experience for the whole team over here. Our thoughts primarily go to his family who have lost Alexander way too early.”
Dale Oen won the 100-meter breaststroke world title last summer in an emotional victory just days after a terrorist attack in Norway claimed the lives of 77 people. He dedicated his victory to the memory of those who died.
“We need to stay united,” he said after the race. “Everyone back home now is of course paralyzed with what happened but it was important for me to symbolize that even though I'm here in China, I'm able to feel the same emotions.”
FINA released a statement in response to the news of Dale Oen's death:
FINA was shocked to learn about the sudden death of prestigious swimmer Alexander Dale Oen (NOR), at the age of 26 in a training camp in Flagstaff (Arizona, USA), on April 30, 2012.
Dale Oen has been of the most promising revelations at the 2008 Olympic Games, winning a silver medal in the 100m breaststroke, an event in which he obtained the victory (the first ever for his country) at the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai (CHN). He was therefore one of the most talented swimmers in this stroke and was certainly preparing a brilliant participation at the upcoming Olympic Games in London.
In everyone's memory is also present his courage in Shanghai when shining in the pool immediately after the sad events that had taken place in Norway. He had given to media and fans an image of a brave and sincere athlete, paying a heartfelt tribute to his compatriots from the pool deck in China. His example had been one of the most vivid moments of those Championships.
FINA shares the mourning of the entire Norwegian swimming community and addresses its most sincere condolences to his family and friends.