2016 Olympian Oleksandr Pielieshenko Dies in Ukraine-Russia War

According to multiple sources, weightlifter Oleksandr Pielieshenko, who won two continental titles for Ukraine and finished fourth in his weight class at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, has lost his life fighting in the Ukraine-Russia war

The news of Pielieshenko’s passing was announced on May 6, 2024, by Ukraine’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) and National Weightlifting Federation. Pielieshenko was reportedly killed in action during a rocket attack on May 5

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Ukraine’s NOC said in a statement: “From the first days of the full-scale invasion, Oleksandr joined the ranks of the Armed Forces. Yesterday we received the sad news of his death … The Olympic family sincerely sympathizes with the family, loved ones and friends of the sportsmena.”

Oleksandr Pielieshenko Weightlifting Career

Pielieshenko’s career in weightlifter took place mainly in the 85-kilogram division, a weight category that no longer exists after the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) reorganized the divisions in 2018.

Pieleshenko was a two-time gold medalist at the European Weightlifting Championships (EWC) in 2016 and 2017. He also finished fourth at the 2016 Olympics behind Kianoush Rostami from Iran, Tian Tao from China and Denis Ulanov from Kazakhstan.

Pielieshenko competed only nine times internationally. His last international appearance was in April 2017, when he was just 23. He passed at age 30.

Oleksandr Pielieshenko (85KG, UKR) | Career Highlights

2015 World Championships: 4th, 368 (167/201)

2016 European Championships: 1st, 372 (168/204)

2016 Olympic Games: 4th, 385 (175/210)

2017 European Championships: 1st, 386 (175/211)

Editor’s Note: The notation above refers to Pielieshenko’s Total in kilograms, which is the sum of his best in-competition snatch and clean & jerk, parenthesized.

The Community Reacts 

News of Pielieshenko’s passing spread rapidly throughout the weightlifting community. On Facebook, Viktor Slobodianiuk, an official within Ukraine’s Ministry of Sport, said:

“This is a very heavy loss … Oleksandr loved weightlifting. It was his life. [Pielieshenko] worked as a coach in Kyiv [capital of Ukraine] and wanted to compete again. When this war started, he joined the army [on] the first day.” Pielieshenko was married but did not have children, Slobodianuk said.

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On social media, Pielieshenko’s former teammate and fellow Olympian Oleksiy Torokhtiy, said, “I know how tough your path in sports was. It’s hard for me to even imagine how tough the last few years were for you, but you never gave up. Glory to the heroes.”

Ukraine’s NOC offered their condolences as well, stating, “The Olympic family sincerely sympathizes with [Pielieshenko’s] family, friends, and relatives.”

In late Feb. 2024, Ukraine’s Ministry of Sports reported that 443 Ukrainian athletes and coaches had been killed in the two years since the war began. 502 sports facilities had been destroyed or damaged in the conflict. As of Feb., 81 of those sites have been restored.

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Featured Image: @sickangles on Instagram

DisclaimerBrian Oliver is an independent correspondent for BarBend. The views and opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect his own. Oliver is not directly affiliated with any of BarBend’s existing media partnerships.

The post 2016 Olympian Oleksandr Pielieshenko Dies in Ukraine-Russia War appeared first on BarBend.


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