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Rafael Vidal Dies in Auto Accident -- February 13, 2005

CARACAS, Venezuela, February 13. RAFAEL Vidal, one of Venezuela's greatest sports heroes, was killed in an auto accident early yesterday morning when another car crashed into his blue Toyota Corolla.

Vidal, 41, died instantly. He leaves two children: one eight, the other four.

Vidal, a four-year All-American at the University of Florida, won a bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, finishing third in the 200 meter fly in 1:57.51 in the same race in which Australia's Jon Sieben upset West Germany's Michael Gross, the world record-holder. Vidal finished only four-hundredths of a second behind Gross.

Detto Redaelli, 24, the driver of the other car, and a passenger, were taken to a local hospital, where their condition was described as "good." Redaelli was driving a black Humer without license plates. Police are investigating the incident.

-- Jorge Aguado