Oleksandr Pielieshenko: Ukrainian Olympian dies during conflict with Russia

Weightlifter Oleksandr Pielieshenko, who represented Ukraine at the Rio 2016 Olympics, has died during the conflict with Russia.

Two-time European champion Pielieshenko, 30, joined the armed forces soon after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, according to the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine.

“War takes the best of us… heroes do not die,” said weightlifting coach and Ukrainian Weightlifting Federation (UWF) board member Viktor Slobodianiuk.

Pielieshenko died on the front line, the UWF added.

He was ranked fourth at the Rio Games in the 85kg category and won gold at the European championships in 2016 and 2017.

Pielieshenko was later banned after failing a drugs test in 2018.

“It is with great sadness that we inform you that the heart of merited master of sports of Ukraine… Oleksandr Pielieshenko has stopped beating today,” the UWF said in a post on Facebook.

“We express our sincere condolences to the family and everyone who knew Oleksandr.”

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