LONDON – Norwegian swimmer Alexander Dale Oen’s death in late April brought forth an outpouring of emotional responses to the late breaststroker and 2011 100-meter world champion.
Hungary’s Daniel Gyurta, the 200-meter champion in London, offered a touching tribute for Dale Oen. On Saturday, he announced he will obtain a copy of his gold medal to give to Dale Oen’s family.
“I think this is the best way to honor his family,” said Gyurta, who clocked a world-record 2 minutes, 7.28 seconds in Wednesday’s 200 final.
“Alexander was a really close friend. We shared plenty of joy in the past, discussed our races at various international events. I was shocked when I learned the news of his tragic death.”
Dale Oen died of a heart attack in Flagstaff, Arizona, during a high-altitude training camp.
That left a deep void in the sport, where a close fraternity of competitors enjoy each other’s camaraderie.
“I planned to celebrate together,” Gyurta said, admitting his pre-London plans. “But it will never happen. Still, I am convinced he would have deserved an Olympic medal, so when I get home I will order a copy of my gold medal and I will send it or possibly hand it personally to his family.”
Good enough: Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, the world-record holder and reigning Olympic champ in the 100 and 200 meters, had his first race of the London Games on Saturday afternoon.
Bolt won the fourth heat of the 100 with a routine time of 10.09 seconds. American Ryan Bailey, running in the third heat, was the quickest sprinter in round one (9.88 seconds).
After his race, Bolt said, “I expected it. I’m running well. I’m happy, training is great. Reaction (time) was good.
“I’m looking forward to the semifinals tomorrow,” said Bolt, who has stuck to his Beijing Games pre-race routine of ordering Chicken McNuggets from McDonald’s. (The other day he stepped in line to order a 20-pack, but was told he could only get six, according to published reports.)
Bolt ran a rather ordinary race, but it wasn’t perfect mechanics-wise.
At the start, “I made a bad step. I stumbled a bit. I’m glad it happened now.”
The 100 meter semifinal heats are scheduled to begin at 7:45 p.m. London time, followed by the final at 9:50.
Medal count: As of 2 p.m. on Saturday, the United States was atop the charts with 45 medals, including 22 golds. China was second with 20 gold medal and 43 total medals. Great Britain, boosted by incredible support from the home fans, had 10 golds and 25 overall medals.