Japanese swimmer mourns death of Norwegian rival

8 years ago by in Featured, Sports

Kosuke Kitajima, holder of two swimming Olympic gold medals for Japan, wrote on Twitter 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.

Kitajima, aged 29 (photo left), says that Oen’s death has left a “big hole” in his heart. “In shock over the passing of a dear friend and great rival. RIP Alex”.

Alexander Dale Oen, 26 (photo right), was found dead in a shower at a swimming pool in Arizona, the United States, where he was training with his Olympic team.

Dale Oen had been training in Tokyo in 2009 and 2010 to better learn how his Japanese rival was developing himself. He said at one occasion that he and Kitajima were “very much the same” as swimmers.

“We’d like to race and we’d like to do our best,” he said about his duel with Kitajima in London, which “would “definitely (be) a big challenge”.