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A synchronized swimmer from the USA was saved from death. The same nightmare we saw at the Games

Ivan OrekhovSport correspondentAll materialsThe main sports news of this morning: US team synchronized swimmer Anita Alvarez almost drowned during the final of the free program in solo at the World Aquatics Championships in Budapest. According to Western media, the athlete lost consciousness and literally went to the bottom. The coach of the US national team Andrea Fuentes came to the rescue of the American, who dived in ordinary clothes and, grabbing Alvarez, raised her to the surface. One of the lifeguards came to the rescue. To the applause of the shocked fans, the synchronized swimmer was put on a stretcher and promptly taken to the medical center. Now the health of the athlete, who was twice recognized as synchronized swimmer of the year in the United States, is not in danger. Fuentes, who soon showed her best qualities, shared the details of what happened. The four-time Olympic medalist, who has been part of the coaching staff of the national team since 2018, said that Alvarez fainted due to overexertion:

"I yelled at the lifeguards to get into the water, but they didn't hear what I said… Anita wasn't breathing, her pulse was very high. I swam to her as fast as if it was an Olympic final. She was two minutes without breathing, with a pulse of 180 beats per minute. There was a moment when I was really scared, and now the two of us are laughing. She fainted because of the great effort – today we saw where the limit of the human body lies. And Anita is one of those who likes to push herself to the limit".

Note that Alvarez more than once lost consciousness in the water. For example, in 2021, the girl became ill at the qualifying tournament for the Olympic Games, which was held in Barcelona. But, despite the wake-up call, the girl does not plan to stop – today she will have a day of rest, and on Friday the synchronized swimmer will participate in the team free tournament. In the context of this terrible story, one cannot but recall another case that happened 14 years ago at the 2008 Olympics . Then in Beijing, the Japanese synchronized swimmer Hiromi Kobayashi turned out to be in the center of media attention, and shortly before the end of the performance, she began to “turn off”. At some point, not eight, but seven athletes emerged from the water – two rescuers dived into the water and saved the girl. And even though Japan lost its chances for a podium, at that moment it was not the pursuit of medals that came to the fore, but the pursuit of life.
Japanese synchronized swimmer Hiromi Kobayashi Here is how Olympic champion Natalya Ishchenko, who won gold in the group at those Games, recalled the incident:

"When we were preparing for our exit, a Japanese woman was wheeled past on a gurney, who lost consciousness after the performance. I shuddered a little… In principle, in synchronized swimming, this happens when you lose consciousness from a lack of oxygen. In my career spitting over my left shoulder nothing like this has happened so far".

Hospitalization of synchronized swimmer Kobayashi at the Olympics in BeijingThe main tragedy in the history of synchronized swimming is the death of world champion, Russian Olympic hope Olga Larkina. In December 2005, the athlete became ill in training – the doctors of the Botkin hospital fought for the girl's life for two days, but could not save the patient. Larkina died at the age of 21 from a pulmonary aortic aneurysm.

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