Olympic and Paralympic deaths
At the modern Olympic Games, up to and including the 2016 Summer Paralympics[update], 10 athletes have died while either competing in or practicing their sport. In addition, another 14 participants have died at the Olympics from other causes; 11 of these deaths resulted from the Munich massacre of 1972.
Several incidents related to the Olympics have caused the death of non-participants. Large numbers were killed during the Lima football riot of 1964 and the Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico City in 1968. The Centennial Olympic Park bombing at the 1996 Games caused two deaths.
- 1 In competition during the Olympics
- 2 In competition during the Paralympics
- 3 During Olympic practice or after Olympic competition
- 4 Other Olympic deaths
- 5 Deaths of non-participants at Olympic-related events
- 6 References
In competition during the Olympics
- Francisco Lázaro (21), Portugal – Runner – 1912, Stockholm – electrolyte imbalance
- Knut Jensen (23), Denmark – Cyclist – 1960, Rome – heat stroke
In competition during the Paralympics
During Olympic practice or after Olympic competition
- Nicolae Berechet (20), Romania – Boxer – 1936, Berlin – Berechet died three days after losing his bout against Evald Seeberg. His death was officially recorded as being due to blood poisoning, but it has been suggested that damage caused in the fight may have been a factor in his death.
- Ignaz Stiefsohn, Austria – Gliding (demonstration event) – 1936, Berlin – killed when his glider crashed during practice.
- Ross Milne (19), Australia – Downhill Skiing – 1964, Innsbruck – Ski collision in practice.
- Kazimierz Kay-Skrzypecki, Britain – Luge – 1964, Innsbruck – Luge crash in practice two weeks before the Games.
- Nicolas Bochatay (27), Switzerland – Speed Skiing (demonstration sport) – 1992, Albertville – collided with a snow machine in practice.
- Hyginus Anugo (22), Nigeria – 4 × 400 metres relay reserve – 2000, Sydney – struck by a vehicle while training.
- Nodar Kumaritashvili (21), Georgia – Luge – 2010, Vancouver – Luge crash in practice.
Other Olympic deaths
In 1948, during the London Olympics, Eliška Misáková, one of nine members of the Czechoslovak women's team in gymnastics, became ill on arrival in the host city. Diagnosed with polio, she died on the last day of the Olympics, the same day her remaining teammates won the competition.
Arrigo Menicocci, Italian rower who competed in eights, was killed as a passenger in a car crash about 90 km northwest of Melbourne during the Olympics on 1 December 1956, four days after the end of the rowing competition.
The 11 Israeli Olympic Team members who were murdered in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich are:
- Mark Slavin, 18, Wrestler
- Eliezer Halfin, 24, Wrestler
- David Mark Berger, 28, Weightlifter
- Ze'ev Friedman, 28, Weightlifter
- Yossef Romano, 32, Weightlifter
- Andre Spitzer, 27, Fencing coach
- Moshe Weinberg, 33, Wrestling coach
- Amitzur Shapira, 40, Track coach
- Yossef Gutfreund, 40, Wrestling referee
- Yakov Springer, 51, Weightlifting judge
- Kehat Shorr, 53, Shooting coach
Between the morning and afternoon runs of the men's giant slalom, Jörg Oberhammer, 47, the Austrian team doctor, was skiing on a recreational slope when he collided with another skier (a CTV technician) and was knocked under a snow-grooming machine, which crushed him instantly.
In a qualifying match for the Olympic football tournament, home fans began rioting after a late Peru goal was disallowed. Police fired tear gas into the crowd, exacerbating the situation, which ended with 318 deaths.
The Mexico 68 protests were part of a worldwide series of leftwing student-led protests. While the protesting National Strike Council claimed not to link its demands to the Olympics, some students protested at the perceived extravagance of hosting the games, and some sought to exploit the increased foreign media presence in the city for publicity. The authoritarian government had a secret "Olympia Battalion" to ensure security during the Games. Ten days before the games, the unit swept through a mass meeting in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas making arrests. Estimates of the number killed in the operation range from thirty to several hundred.
1996 Olympic Park Bombing
Athens 2004 Paralympics
Seven teenagers from Farkadona were killed in a crash whilst travelling to Athens for the Games, when their bus collided with a truck near the town of Kamena Vourla. Out of respect for their death, the cultural portion of the closing ceremonies of these Paralympics were cancelled.
On 1 August 2012, a special bus carrying media from the London Olympic Park was involved in a collision in which a cyclist was killed.
Rio de Janeiro 2016
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- "Rio Paralympics 2016: Iranian Para-cyclist dies after crash". Retrieved 2016-09-17.
- Kuningas, Tiit; Tiit Lääne (2005). Olümpiamängude ajalugu II, suvemängud 1920–1944 (en: History of the Olympic Games II, Summer Games 1920–1944) (in Estonian). Tallinn: Maalehe Raamat. ISBN 9985-64-255-4. (in Estonian)
- Kas Eesti poksija löök põhjustas vastase surma? Archived 2011-07-20 at the Wayback Machine (Did hit from the Estonian boxer caused opponents death?) Eesti Päevaleht (in Estonian)
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- Eskenaz, Gerald (23 February 1992). "Albertville; Swiss speed skier killed during a practice run". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
- "Nigerian Runner Is Killed When Hit by Car in Sydney." Los Angeles Times. September 08, 2000. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
- Zinser, Lynn (2010-02-12). "Luge Athlete's Death Casts Pall Over Games". New York Times. New York City. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
- "Unhappy Olympic Endings". Past & Present Gymnastics. 8 November 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2011.
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- Jones, Sam (28 September 2004). "Seven children die in Paralympics bus crash". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 January 2012.
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- "Cyclist dies in Olympic media bus crash". BBC Online. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- "2 German Olympic coach and canoe silver medalist, 35, dies after his taxi was hit in a high-speed head-on collision in Rio". Mail Online. Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved August 15, 2016.