Olympic and Paralympic deaths

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At the modern Olympic Games, up to and including the 2016 Summer Paralympics, nine 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.

In competition during the Olympics[edit]

In competition during the Paralympics[edit]

During Olympic practice or after Olympic competition[edit]

Other Olympic deaths[edit]

London 1948[edit]

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.[12]

Melbourne 1956[edit]

Arrigo Menicocci, Italian rower who competed in eights, was killed in a car crash in Melbourne on 1 December 1956.[13]

Munich 1972[edit]

Main article: Munich massacre

In 1972, during the Munich Olympics, 11 members of the Israeli team were killed during a terrorist attack by Palestinian terrorists called Black September.

The 11 Israeli Olympic Team members who were murdered in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich are:

Calgary 1988[edit]

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.[14][15]

Deaths of non-participants at Olympic-related events[edit]

Lima 1964[edit]

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.

Mexico 1968[edit]

Main article: Tlatelolco massacre

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[edit]

On July 27, 1996 (the eighth day of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games), a bomb exploded at the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia, killing two and wounding over 111 people.

Athens 2004 Paralympics[edit]

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.[16][17]

London 2012[edit]

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.[18]

On 3 August 2012, a man died of a heart problem after collapsing in the toilets of the Velodrome in the Olympic park.[19]

Rio de Janeiro 2016[edit]

On 5 August, shortly after the 2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremony, a mugger was shot and killed near Maracanã Stadium. Hours earlier, a woman was killed near another Olympic site. She was attacked by three muggers and shot in the head and killed.[20]

German Olympic coach Stefan Henze died on 15 August 2016 after his taxi was hit in a high-speed head-on collision in Rio.[21]


  1. ^ "FORUM OLIMPICO DE PORTUGAL" (in Portuguese). Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Danish Cyclist Died of Heat Stroke, Not Drug". New York Times. 26 March 1961. Retrieved 3 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Rio Paralympics 2016: Iranian Para-cyclist dies following crash". Retrieved 2016-09-17. 
  4. ^ 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.  (Estonian)
  5. ^ Kas Eesti poksija löök põhjustas vastase surma? (Did hit from the Estonian boxer caused opponents death?) Eesti Päevaleht (Estonian)
  6. ^ Connolly, Paul (31 July 2016). "The Joy of Six: Olympic demonstration sports". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
  7. ^ John E. Findling, Kimberly D. Pelle, Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement, Greenwood Press, 2004, ISBN 0-313-32278-3, p. 347.
  8. ^ Judd, Ron C. (2009). The Winter Olympics: An Insider's Guide to the Legends, Lore and The Games. The Mountaineers Books. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-59485-063-9. 
  9. ^ Eskenaz, Gerald (23 February 1992). "Albertville; Swiss speed skier killed during a practice run". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 February 2010. 
  10. ^ "Nigerian Runner Is Killed When Hit by Car in Sydney." Los Angeles Times. September 08, 2000. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
  11. ^ Zinser, Lynn (2010-02-12). "Huge Athlete Killed in Training Crash at Olympics". New York Times. New York City. Retrieved 2010-02-12. 
  12. ^ "Unhappy Olympic Endings". Past & Present Gymnastics. 8 November 2008. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  13. ^ "Italian Rower Dies in Crash". The Age. 3 December 1956. Retrieved August 20, 2016 – via Google News Archive. 
  14. ^ Special (27 February 1988). "'88 Winter Olympics: Notebook; Death on Slopes Is Ruled Accident". The New York Times. p. 52. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  16. ^ Jones, Sam (28 September 2004). "Seven children die in Paralympics bus crash". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  17. ^ "Games finale cut after bus deaths". BBC News. 27 September 2004. Retrieved 13 January 2012. 
  18. ^ "Cyclist dies in Olympic media bus crash". BBC Online. 1 August 2012. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  19. ^ "Olympic fan Conrad Readman dies after collapsing at velodrome". BBC Online. 7 August 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2014. 
  20. ^ "2 Shot and Killed Near Rio Olympic Sites". The Epoch Times. Epoch Times. Retrieved August 7, 2016. 
  21. ^ "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.