World championship swimmer died suddenly in Flagstaff

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- A world championship swimmer died suddenly in Flagstaff on Monday night, while training for the upcoming Olympic games. Alexander Dale Oen, a 26-year-old Norwegian, was found unresponsive in his hotel room by some of his teammates.  

The team doctor performed CPR, but doctors at Flagstaff Medical Center pronounced Dale Oen dead.  Flagstaff Police say they found no signs of foul play. The exact cause of the heart attack is unknown.

"We cannot comprehend what has happened. We're trying to deal with the shock and sorrow," said the team's doctor, Ola Ronsen.

Ronsen told reporters Dale Oen completed a light round of training in the pool on Monday, along with a round of golf, before heading back to his hotel. He says Dale Oen was not taking medicine, had no history of illness, and seemed fine.

The Norwegian team has been in Flagstaff for three weeks for high altitude training at Northern Arizona University's Aquatics Center.

"He loved coming to Flagstaff. He's been here 9 years in a row," Dale Oen's Coach, Petter Loberg said. "There are no words. I just miss him so much."

Dale Oen became the most popular athlete in Norway in 2011 after winning gold at the World Championships in Shanghai. He dedicated his win to victims of a terror attack in Norway just three days earlier, in which a man killed 77 people.

The Norwegian team is scheduled to leave Flagstaff pn Wednesday, without their top swimmer. Dale Oen was a gold medal favorite in the London Olympics.