Weightlifter Oleksandr Pielieshenko becomes first Olympian to die in Ukraine war

A Ukrainian Olympian has died during the conflict with Russia

Sonia Twigg
Tuesday 07 May 2024 09:56 BST
Weightlifter Oleksandr Pielieshenko was killed in action during the war in Ukraine
Weightlifter Oleksandr Pielieshenko was killed in action during the war in Ukraine (Getty Images)

Ukrainian Olympic weightlifter Oleksandr Pielieshenko, has died during the conflict with Russia.

Pielieshenko finished fourth in the light-heavyweight 85kg classing at the Rio Olympics in 2016 was killed at the weekend.

The two-time European champion died during combat operations, the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine announced.

"On May 5, in the war with the enemy, died the honoured master of sports of Ukraine, participant of the Olympic Games 2016, where he took fourth place, two-time European weightlifting champion Oleksandr Pielieshenko," it said in a post on Facebook.

"From the first days of the full-scale invasion, Oleksandr joined the ranks of the Armed Forces. Yesterday we received the sad news of his death.

"The Olympic family sincerely sympathises with the athlete’s family, friends and relatives."

The Ukrainian Weightlifting Federation said: “It is with great sadness that we inform you that today the heart of the honored master of sports of Ukraine, two-time European champion in weightlifting, Oleksandr Pielieshenko, has stopped beating.

“We express our deepest condolences to the family and everyone who knew Oleksandr!”

Pielieshenko was banned from the sport after failing a drugs test in 2018, and had not competed since.

Russian athletes are still being allowed to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympics, although they cannot use their country’s flag, attend the opening ceremony or participate in team sports.

In Tokyo 2020, Russian athletes won 20 goals and 71 total medals, and this time around will include cyclists and former US Open champion Daniil Medvedev.

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