The triathlon community is mourning the loss of French Olympic triathlete Laurent Vidal, who passed away overnight in France. The 31-year-old two-time Olympian competed in Beijing and London where he finished fifth in 2012.
Vidal had a number of WTS and World Cup medals on his impressive resume and raced in the ITU until 2014 when he suffered a cardiopulmonary arrest while training. He continued to be involved in the sport in 2015 coaching his fiancée, New Zealand triathlete Andrea Hewitt and a number of French athletes. Vidal was also the Athlete Representative on the ITU Executive Board.
“Laurent was an unforgettable presence, touching the lives of anyone who met him with his positive outlook and incredible energy,” said ITU President Marisol Casado. “He was constantly coming up with new ideas to take our sport to the new level, pushing the envelope in everything he did whether it was training or coaching.
“We are so thankful for everything he did for triathlon and the memories shared. He’s gone far, far too soon and will be missed.”
There is little information at this early stage, other than Vidal passed peacefully in his sleep; he was just 31 years old. According to Triathlon New Zealand’s website, Hewitt was with Vidal at the time and is now with his family in France.
Former New Zealand athlete James Elvery was close to Vidal, with the Frenchman serving as his best man at his wedding in July this year. “We are all just shattered, this is just awful news. I have spoken to Andrea and she is in a state of shock right now trying to come to terms with what has happened, we all are. She is with Laurent’s family and they are supporting each other in this time of grief.
“Laurent was always so positive. A real inspiration to me and to so many people around the world.”
The triathlon community has been posting their condolences on the Triathlon New Zealand Facebook page, which will then be made available to Hewitt and the Vidal family.
from press release