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Ukrainian Olympian dies fighting Russia

A Ukrainian weightlifter, Oleksandr Pielieshenko, has died while fighting in the war against Russia.

Pielieshenko, who represented Ukraine at the 2016 Rio Olympics and was praised for his performances in the 85kg category, joined the armed forces following Russia’s invasion in 2022.

His death was confirmed by the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Weightlifting Federation (UWF).

Viktor Slobodianiuk, a weightlifting coach and UWF board member, mourned the loss, stating, “War takes the best of us ... heroes do not die.”

Pielieshenko won gold medals at the European championships in 2016 and 2017.

His career had its challenges, including a ban following a failed drug test in 2018.

The UWF paid tribute to him on Facebook: “It is with great sadness that we inform you that the heart of the merited master of sports of Ukraine ... Oleksandr Pielieshenko, has stopped beating today.”

Pictured above: Oleksandr Pielieshenko.

Image source: X