Olympic Games Deaths
In the pursuit of an Olympic gold medal athletes often push themselves to their physical limits. In some cases this has led to death. As you will see below, there are also other tragic fatalities of athletes while attending the Olympic Games. There have also been four athletes who have lost their lives during the Winter Games.
Francisco Lazaro, 1912
At the 1912 Summer Olympic Games in Stockholm, the Portuguese runner Francisco Lazaro collapsed from sunstroke and heart trouble at the 29 km mark of the marathon, and died the next day. He was aged 21.
Nicolae Berechet, 1936
During the 1936 berlin Olympic Games, Romanian Boxer Nicolae Berechet was eliminated in the first round of the featherweight class. On August 11, 1936, a few days after match, he died mysteriously of blood poisoning and was buried in Berlin. There are suggestions that he died as a result of injuries sustained in the fight.
Knud Enemark Jensen, 1960
At the Rome Olympics on August 26, 1960, Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen collapsed during the 100 km team time trial, fatally fracturing his skull. He was 23 years old. The autopsy showed he had taken amphetamines and Roniacol (which may decrease blood pressure). Competing in 93°F (34°C) heat, the official cause of death was heat stroke. His death led the IOC to form a medical commission in 1967 and to begin drug testing at the 1968 Games.
Israeli Olympic Team Members (Munich Massacre), 1972
Most tragic of all of the Olympic Games deaths is the killing of 11 members of the Israeli team during the 1972 Munich Olympics, as a result of a terrorist attack by Palestinian extremists. The 11 killed were athletes, coaches and officials. Here are the names of the 11 Israeli Olympic Team members:
- Mark Slavin, 18, Wrestler
- Eliezer Halfin, 24, Wrestler
- David Berger, 28, Weightlifter
- Ze'ev Friedman, 28, Weightlifter
- Yossef Romano, 31, Weightlifter
- Andre Spitzer, 27, Fencing coach
- Moshe Weinberg, 33, Wrestling coach
- Amitzur Shapira, 40, Track coach
- Yossef Gutfreund, age 40, Wrestling referee
- Yakov Springer, 51, Weightlifting judge
- Kehat Shorr, 53, Shooting coach
Other Olympic Related Deaths
- During the London Olympics in 1948, one of nine members of Czechoslovakia women's gymnastics team, Eliška Misáková, became ill when she arrived in London. Diagnosed with polio, she died on the last day of the Olympics, the same day her remaining teammates won the competition.
- On July 27, during the 1996 Olympic Games, a bomb exploded at the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia, killing one and wounding another 111 people.