Alexander Dale Oen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Alexander Dale Oen
Reykjavík International Games 2009 (3207964002).jpg
Alexander Dale Oen at the Reykjavík International Games 2009
Personal information
Nationality  Norway
Born (1985-05-21)21 May 1985
Øygarden, Norway
Died 30 April 2012(2012-04-30) (aged 26)
Flagstaff, Arizona, United States
Height 1.90 m (6 ft 3 in)
Weight 80 kg (176 lb)
Sport Swimming
Strokes Breaststroke
Club Bærumsvømmerne

Alexander Dale Oen (Norwegian pronunciation: [ɑlekˈsɑndər ˈdɑːlə ˈuːən]; 21 May 1985 – 30 April 2012)[3] was a Norwegian swimmer. He represented the clubs Vestkantsvømmerne (1995–2010) and Bærumsvømmerne (2011–2012). Dale Oen's gold at the 2008 European Championships made him the first Norwegian male to win a medal at a major international long course championship.

Dale Oen got his international breakthrough in 2005, placing seventh in the 100-metre breaststroke during the 2005 World Aquatics Championships. During the European short-course Championships in December the same year, he swam the 100 m breaststroke in 59.05 seconds, placing fourth and setting a new Nordic Record. He became the first Norwegian to swim this distance in less than 1 minute. At the Norwegian Short Course Championships two months later, he bettered that time to 58.81, a world best mark for the year.

On 30 April 2012, at around 19:50 MST Dale Oen was found unconscious in his hotel bathroom after having suffered a heart attack, caused by chronic, undetected coronary heart disease, a rare disease for a person of his age and fitness. He was found in his bathroom by one of his teammates, and CPR was performed before Dale Oen was brought to Flagstaff Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at 21:00 MST. Dale Oen was attending a training camp with the Norwegian swimming team in Flagstaff, Arizona at the time of his death.[4][5][6]


At the 2006 FINA Short Course World Championships in Shanghai, Dale Oen won a bronze medal in the 100-m breaststroke, behind Oleg Lisogor and Brenton Rickard. Oen became the first Norwegian male to win a World Championships medal in swimming. Four months later, Oen followed that up with success at the 2006 European Swimming Championships, winning the silver medal in the 100-m breaststroke and setting a new Nordic record (long course), with 1:00.63.

Dale Oen won his first short-course medal at the 2006 Short Course European Championships in Helsinki, taking bronze behind two Ukrainians in the 100-m breaststroke in a new personal best of 58.70. In the 2007 World Championships, Dale Oen was second fastest in the heats (in another Nordic record, 1:00.34) and third fastest in the semifinal, but failed in the final, clocking well above 1:01.

Dale Oen repeated the feat of doing better in the semifinal than the final at the 2007 European Short Course Championships. After 58.60, a new personal best and the second-fastest time, in the semifinals, Dale Oen finished in 58.81, fifth place and 0.24 seconds behind the gold medal. However, Dale Oen dominated the 2008 European Championships. Setting a record time of 1:00.11 in the heats, and being fastest in both the heats and the semifinal, Dale Oen swam the final in a European record time of 59.76, and won the gold by 0.02 seconds ahead of Hugues Duboscq, who also swam a personal best.

At the 2008 Summer Olympics, Dale Oen earned Norway's first ever Olympic medal in swimming, placing second in the 100-m breaststroke final.

During the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai, Dale Oen won the gold medal in the 100-m breaststroke with the time 58.71, 0.71 seconds ahead of Fabio Scozzoli. This was Norway's first gold medal at a World Championship in swimming. Dale Oen's win was highly publicized because of his emotional response at the award ceremony because of the Oslo attacks a few days earlier.[7]

Personal bests[edit]

Long course (50 m)[edit]

Event Time

Date Meet Location Ref
50 m breaststroke 27.20 NR(†) 25 Jul 2011 World Championships Shanghai, China
100 m breaststroke 58.71 NR 25 Jul 2011 World Championships Shanghai, China
200 m breaststroke 2:09.68 NR 12 Aug 2010 European Championships Budapest, Hungary
Legend: WRWorld record; EREuropean record; NRNorwegian record;
Records not set in finals: h – heat; sf – semifinal; r – relay 1st leg; rh – relay heat 1st leg; b – B final; – en route to final mark; tt – time trial

Short course (25 m)[edit]

Event Time

Date Meet Location Ref
50 m breaststroke 27.13 (h) 12 Apr 2008 World SC Championships Manchester, United Kingdom
100 m breaststroke 58.14 NR 10 Apr 2008 World SC Championships Manchester, United Kingdom
200 m breaststroke 2:08.28 NR 16 Dec 2007 European SC Championships Debrecen, Hungary
100 m individual medley 55.34 20 Apr 2008 Norwegian SC Championships Stavanger, Norway
Legend: WRWorld record; EREuropean record; NRNorwegian record;
Records not set in finals: h – heat; sf – semifinal; r – relay 1st leg; rh – relay heat 1st leg; b – B final; – en route to final mark; tt – time trial


On 30 April 2012, Dale Oen collapsed in the shower at his training camp in Flagstaff, Arizona. When his teammates thought he was spending a long time showering, they knocked on the door and flicked the light on and off, to which there was no response. They then broke in the door and began administering CPR until the ambulance arrived. Dale Oen was transferred to hospital, but was pronounced dead on arrival, aged 26. An initial autopsy was inconclusive, but a second revealed that Dale Oen suffered from severe atherosclerotic coronary artery disease, with the three main coronary arteries feeding his myocardium up to 90 percent occluded by atherosclerotic plaque, as well as an enlarged heart, and that he died of a myocardial infarction. The autopsy also revealed that he had suffered a series of small heart attacks in the months prior to his death, which apparently went unrecognised. He had experienced pain that radiated down his arm, and into his shoulder, face and chest, but this was attributed to a shoulder injury and a pinched nerve. The only conventional risk factors Dale Oen had for heart disease were a "slightly elevated cholesterol level" and the fact that his grandfather died suddenly at 42, of an unknown cause. His death reminded many of the death of fellow athlete Sergei Grinkov, who also died of coronary artery disease seventeen years earlier at age 28. His funeral was held on 11 May 2012, in Oygarden, Norway.


On 2 August 2012, Hungarian swimmer Dániel Gyurta, who won the men's 200m breaststroke at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, offered a copy of his gold medal to Dale Oen's family in order to honor their friendship.[8] Cameron van der Burgh of South Africa, who won the men's 100 m breaststroke and broke the World Record dedicated the swim to Dale Oen because Dale Oen was one of his close friends and greatest rival. The new public swimming pool in Bergen is named Alexander Dale Oen Arena (ADO Arena) in his honour.[9] Among others, the Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg held a speech at the opening of ADO Arena in 2014, naming Dale Oen as perhaps the greatest athlete of the country.[10]


  1. ^ "Dale Oen takes Silver in 100 metre breaststroke". Retrieved 21 August 2007. 
  2. ^ "Shanghai 2006 results". Archived from the original on 6 March 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2007. 
  3. ^ "Svømmeren Alexander Dale Oen er død". Aftenbladet. 21 May 1985. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Liss Goril Anda Norwegian journalist (1 May 2012). "Norwegian swimming champion Alexander Dale Oen dies". BBC. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "Alexander Dale Oen dies after cardiac arrest at training camp". The Guardian. London. Associated Press. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  6. ^ "Olympic swimmer Alexander Dale Oen found dead at age 26". Fox. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Norwegian Swimmer Alexander Dale Oen Dies After Cardiac Arrest at US Training Camp". Sky News. Archived from the original on 1 May 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  8. ^ "Gyurta elküldi aranya másolatát elhunyt társa családjának". 2 August 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012. 
  9. ^ "Historien bak arenaen: Veien mot målet". AdO arena. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "Her åpnes ADO Arena". Bergens Tidende. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 28 April 2015. 
Preceded by
Camille Lacourt
European Swimmer of the Year
Succeeded by
Yannick Agnel
Preceded by
Thor Hushovd
Norwegian Sportsperson of the Year
Succeeded by
Tora Berger