Maricet Espinosa Gonzalez, a two-time Pan American judo champion, has died at the age of 34. “With great pain, the university community of Cuban sport receives the news of the passing of the outstanding Cuban judoka Maricet Espinosa González. On behalf of our teachers, workers, and students we extend our deepest condolences to their families, friends, and colleagues,” the Cuban Sports University said on social media. Espinosa Gonzalez reportedly died as a result of a heart attack.
Espinosa Gonzalez was the Pan-American champion in 2013 and 2014, as well as the silver medalist at the 2016 Games. Also in 2016, she represented Cuba at the Rio Olympics, losing in the second round of the Women’s 63kg Judo competition. Espinosa Gonzalez had surgery on January 21. However, it is unknown at this time if that was in any way related to her death.
Maricet Espinosa Gonzalez Second Olympian To Die In A Week
Furthermore, Espinosa Gonzalez’s death comes just six days after that of another Olympian. Canadian pole vaulter Shawn Barber was a world champion, Pan-American champion, and Commonwealth silver medallist. “More than just an incredible athlete, Shawn was such a good-hearted person that always put others ahead of himself. It’s tragic to lose such a good person at such a young age,” Barber’s agent said after the news of the pole vaulter’s death broke. Barber was 29 at the time of his death but had been suffering some health issues.
Barber took home world championship gold in 2015 but was unable to translate that into Olympic success. He finished 10th in Rio He retired from professional athletics following the conclusion of the 2018 season. He had earned a bronze medal in the Diamond League that season. Furthermore, Barber came out as gay in 2017 and was well-regarded for his vocal advocacy and visibility as a queer athlete. Barber was residing in Texas at the time of his death and had been living there for many years.