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Japan Rethinks Altitude Plans

May 2, 2012  - Craig Lord

Japan, home of quadruple Olympic breaststroke champion Kosuke Kitajima, is reconsidering its altitude training programme after the death of Alex Dale Oen, the Norwegian 100m breaststroke world champion.

 The Japanese swim federation had planned an altitude camp in June ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games but Japanese federation official Koji Ueno told reporters in Tokyo that "under the circumstances, we can't send our athletes who feel uneasy about what has happened".

Dale Oen was with the Norway team in Flagstaff, Arizona, two days from the end of a camp that was to have lasted almost three weeks. Flagstaff is used regularly as a venue for world-class swimmers who use altitude training as part of their preparation. 

The fastest man ever in a textile suit, Dale Oen had swum only a light training session on Monday before suffering cardiac arrest, according to the Norwegian staff in the US. 

An autopsy was performed on the swimmer today but so far no report has been issued.