The tragic news of weightlifter, Oleksandr Pielieshenko’s passing reverberates through the sporting world, marking the untimely demise of a two-time European champion who proudly represented Ukraine at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Amidst the tumult of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the 30-year-old athlete answered the call of duty, joining the armed forces, as confirmed by the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine.

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

Tragically, Pielieshenko met his fate on the front lines, as conveyed by the UWF.

Despite his accolades in the realm of sports, including a fourth-place ranking at the Rio Games in the 85kg category and consecutive gold medals at the European championships in 2016 and 2017, his legacy was tarnished by a doping scandal in 2018, resulting in a ban from competition.

In a somber announcement on Facebook, the UWF mourned the loss of the esteemed athlete, stating, “It is with great sadness that we inform you that the heart of a merited master of sports of Ukraine… Oleksandr Pielieshenko has stopped beating today.”

The federation extended heartfelt condolences to Pielieshenko’s family and all who had the privilege of knowing the fallen champion, underscoring the profound impact of his departure on the Ukrainian sports community and beyond.