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Modern Mysteries

Is there really a London Olympics 'curse' ?

By T.K. Randall
April 16, 2016 · Comment icon 12 comments

More than a dozen athletes have died since the last Olympic Games. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Ian Patterson
The deaths of 18 athletes who took part in the London 2012 Olympics have sparked rumors of a curse.
The rumor, which has featured prominently in the French-speaking media in recent months, was catapulted in to the limelight following the deaths of swimmer Camille Muffat and boxer Alexis Vastine - both from France - in a helicopter accident over Argentina back in March.

It is believed that the "terrible curse of the London Olympic Games" was first mentioned back in November 2015 after Belarusian sprinter Yuliya Balykina was murdered.

It was also mentioned again just last month when Australian rowing silver-medallist Sarah Tait died of cervical cancer, thus bringing the total number of 2012 Olympic athlete deaths up to 18.

Other victims include Guatemalan weightlifter Christian Lopez who died of pneumonia, British sailor Andrew Simpson who died in a sailing accident, French triathlete Laurent Vidal who died of a heart attack and Egyptian wrestler Abdelrahman el-Trabily who died from a gunshot wound.
But is there really a curse at work or is the French media simply looking too hard for a story ?

According to sports statistician Rob Mastrodomenico, based on crude mortality rates it is not unreasonable to expect 18 people to die in four years out of the 10,568 athletes who took part.

This is in fact even less than what would be statistically expected for such a large group of people because Olympic athletes are young, fit and healthy and therefore less likely to die.

In other words, the whole idea of an Olympic curse based on these figures is nonsense.

Source: BBC News | Comments (12)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by Likely Guy 8 years ago
Hmmm. Apparently 10,768 athletes attended so that's about 1 in 600 who have died in the last four years. That's a pretty ineffectual "curse".
Comment icon #4 Posted by bubblykiss 8 years ago
Hmmm. Apparently 10,768 athletes attended so that's about 1 in 600 who have died in the last four years. That's a pretty ineffectual "curse". There is no practical way anybody could ever know exactly how many athletes competed unless they were on the Olympic Commission....or were the one who placed the curse! And I just happen to know every Olympic Commissioner in the world. Except Dave Blauher, nobody knows him, or wants to know him.
Comment icon #5 Posted by jarjarbinks 8 years ago
Accidental death is ok. But hearth attack, maybe they took some stuff to enhance their performence
Comment icon #6 Posted by Max A. 8 years ago
You're a fibbing fibber! Death only happens in movies! I think it's a hereditary thing. Most of my ancestors died at some point during their lives. My family are pretty good at it
Comment icon #7 Posted by MissJatti 8 years ago
RIP to those athletes who died in this so called ''curse''
Comment icon #8 Posted by BeastieRunner 8 years ago
That's still sobering news.
Comment icon #9 Posted by paperdyer 8 years ago
Accidental death is ok. But hearth attack, maybe they took some stuff to enhance their performence Many athletes die of heart attacks. They push their bodies too far and ignore the warning signs as workout pains. There was a famous runner that was 100% healthy that died while running many years ago. His name escapes me. I blame my memory loses on increasing age and all of my meds that keep me alive. I guess I'd rather be forgetful and alive than "Total Recall" and dead.
Comment icon #10 Posted by theotherguy 8 years ago
Let's see... High-profile event, moderately famous people, early deaths... Yep, all the makings of a curse story. Although, I'm now wondering which Olympics had the most participant athlete deaths in a 20-year span afterward. Kind of a morbid question, and I'm not sure how to look for an answer.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Eldorado 8 years ago
Let's see... High-profile event, moderately famous people, early deaths... Yep, all the makings of a curse story. Although, I'm now wondering which Olympics had the most participant athlete deaths in a 20-year span afterward. Kind of a morbid question, and I'm not sure how to look for an answer. Probably the 1936 olympics in Berlin.
Comment icon #12 Posted by seaturtlehorsesnake 8 years ago
even worse? everyone who participated in the original olympics? totally dead.


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