26-year-old Olympic medalist Alexander Dale Oen died in Flagstaff, Ariz. Tuesday morning, Norwegian time. Monday at 7:50 p.m. local time teammates had noticed that Oen was taking a strangely long time in the shower.
They shouted and knocked on his door, and when they did not get any response, they rushed into the bathroom. There they found Oen partially lying on the floor, partly in the bathtub. CPR and resuscitation was initiated, but without response. An hour later Oen was pronounced dead at Flagstaff Medical Center.
Oen was with swimming teammates in Flagstaff, Arizona, USA. The team had been there since April 11, for altitude training in the small town situated at 2000 meters altitude.
NRK reporter Line Andersen was in Flagstaff only eight days ago. There she met a very aggressive Oen, who seemed very eager to get back into top form after a shoulder injury that had given Dale Oen a turbulent winter training season.
“I look forward even more to each workout, and I know I will look the devil in the eye and I will make things even better. So it is just awesome,” said Alexander Dale Oen to NRK.
Oen was relieved that the injury that had bothered him for so long was about to drop, earlier than we had first thought. Oen said to NRK that he was going through a phase of relatively light exercise, which would increase soon.
“The damage is mostly history, and I am so ready to get back in January to top form. Endurance is coming back,” said Oen, who burst out laughing several times during the interview.
Together with his other teammates, Oen trained up to four times a day during his training stay. Unlike his teammates, Oen could not train at full speed. Physiotherapist Christer Kjølholdt said Oen was around 80 percent.
“He was in incredibly good humor, and having very much fun with the rest of the team,” says NRK’s Line Andersen. She tells of a motivated Oen, who was ready to fight back after injuries.
Andersen says that Oen was very focused and keen to get trained properly. Oen was among the last to leave the vast majority of national team sessions.
“He was without doubt, of the 21 athletes who were on the team, more focused at all times,” says Andersen.
Oen told NRK that the injury period had been terribly boring, and did not hide the fact that the past month had been tiring. At the same time he indicated that it would be instructive to work his way back after injury.
“It’s nice to have people like that around too, because then I look forward even more to the next exercise,” said Oen.
Alexander Dale Oen, was the best Norwegian swimmer of the time. He was 26 years old. Oen was planning on going back to Bergen on Wednesday, which he said through his Twitter account that he looked forward to.