German Olympic champion rower Maximilian Reinelt has died while skiing in Switzerland aged only 30. The eights team member switched to medicine in 2016 and had recently been assigned to Germany's U23s as team doctor.
Germany's rowing eight's headquarters in Dortmund said Monday it was stunned by news of Reinelt's death at St. Moritz on Sunday.
Local Swiss police told newspaper Blick that Reinelt had collapsed on a cross-country ski trail after suffering a medical emergency. Paramedics called to the scene were unable to reanimate him.
From 2010, Reinelt crewed regularly with the German rowing eight that went on to win gold at the London Olympics in 2012 and silver at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. He also won world championship gold in 2010 and 2011 as part of Germany's eight-man crew.
In the coming week, Reinelt, originally from Ulm in southern Germany, was due to accompany Germany's U23 team to a training camp at Mequeinenza in Spain.
Prior to rowing, he had studied medicine at the Ruhr University in Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia.
Management for Germany's rowing eight said on its website that it had learned early on Monday of Reinelt's "too-early death," saying fellow athletes were "in disbelief and bewilderment."
"Everyone who got to know him was struck by his reliable and friendly manner. We'll miss him," it added.
Siegfried Kaidel, president of the German Rowing Association, said he felt "infinitely sad."
"Even after ending his team career, he remained highly engaged in rowing as sport," said Kaidel.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach of Germany, who in London in 2012 personally handed Reinelt his gold medal, described his death as "especially tragic" for an athlete who had managed the transition from competitive sport to his chosen vocation with "great success."
In November 2016, Reinelt was among Olympic athletes awarded the Silver Lorbeerby Germany's then-president Joachim Gauck.
ipj/msh (SID, dpa)