The Olympic swimming team of Japan will continue as planned with its altitude training schedule, despite the recent death of Norwegian swimmer Alexander Dale Oen, at a high altitude training camp in the U.S.
Japanese officials have considered changing the training strategy after Dale Oen was found dead last week in a shower at a swimming pool in Arizona, the United States, where he was training with his Olympic team.
“We feel great sorrow at what happened (to Dale Oen),” said Masafumi Izumi, executive director of the Japan Swimming Federation (JSF). “But the autopsy results did not immediately link his sudden death to the altitude. After holding an executive meeting we decided to take all necessary precautions and prepare the athletes in the safest way possible,” he added.
Izumi said the decision was taken at the request of the eight Olympic swimmers. “The swimmers all requested the training go ahead as planned,” he said. “We are not forcing anyone. The swimmers want to go and we agreed to their wishes.”
Kosuke Kitajima, holder of two swimming Olympic gold medals for Japan, wrote on Twitter last week that his “tears won’t stop” after finding out the news of his Norwegian rival Alexander Dale Oen’s death, with only few weeks left until their much anticipated duel at the 2012 London Olympic Games.