13 Jun 2012

Blood clot killed Norwegian swim star

11:49 am on 13 June 2012

It's been revealed that Norway's world champion swimmer Alexander Dale Oen, the world 100 metres breaststroke champion, died of heart failure as the result of a blood clot in one of his coronary arteries from hereditary heart disease.

An autopsy conducted in the United States by an Arizona medical examiner after the swimmer died on April 30 at a high altitude training camp in Arizona, had also shown that Oen suffered the equivalent of small heart attacks one to two months before his death.

Oen, who had been considered one of his country's best hopes for a medal at this year's Olympic Games in London, collapsed and died at a training camp in Flagstaff in northern Arizona in April. He was just 26.

The condition is essentially a hardening of the arteries caused by plaque buildup that narrows and makes the arterial passages stiffer, making it harder for blood to flow through arteries. It's a common cause of heart attack.

The autopsy report findings also meant a shoulder injury that plagued Oen earlier in the year, thought to have been caused by a pinched nerve, was probably linked to his heart problem.

Oen became a national hero in Norway last year when he won the 100 breaststroke at the world championships in Shanghai.