The 2022 Ironman season got underway today at Ironman 70.3 Pucon and, while the event featured two worthy champions, their racing was marred by the death of an athlete during the swim. Spain’s Javier Gomez topped the men’s field thanks to the day’s fastest run, while Luisa Baptista took the title over Chilean favourite Barbara Riveros.
Even before race was over, though, came reports from various Chilean media sources that an athlete had passed away during the swim. According to ADN radio, the 38-year-old man suffered a heart attack while in the water and was taken to a nearby hospital.
Ministra del Deporte lamentó deceso en el Ironman 70.3 pero no quiso ahondar en la situación: “No corresponde entregar información desde el Ministerio del Deporte, le corresponde a la organización” https://t.co/sZzYEzO5pP pic.twitter.com/gButkAqDNV
— Radio ADN (@adnradiochile) January 9, 2022
According to race officials, medical crew were alerted that the man was having issues by another athlete, who “helped take care of the man.” Unfortunately, despite the efforts of the “safety staff and the first responders who provided the right medical help as soon as they could,” the athlete died.
“We are saddened to announce the death of this athlete and express our deepest condolences to his family and friends,” race organizers said in a statement. “We shall continue to support them and respect their privacy while they go through this difficult time.”