Olympians We Have Lost Since the London Games
The first mention of this “curse” was in the fall of 2015, when Belarusian sprinter Yuliya Balykina was found dead, wrapped in plastic, in a forest near Minsk. Balykina competed in the 2012 London Games in both the 100m and 4x100m relay. Her 28-year-old ex-boyfriend confessed to and was charged for her murder.
Of the 18 athletes who have died since London, three were shot dead, two committed suicide, two died from cancer, two had heart attacks, and five were in various accidents.
Billy Ward, an Australian boxer, and Elena Ivashchenko, a Russian judoka, both committed suicide within two months of each other, although on other sides of the world. Elena Baltacha, a British tennis player, died from liver cancer in May 2014.
Australian rower Sarah Tait was the most recent death, who died of cervical cancer this past March. "Sarah Tait is just the latest in a very long list of top athletes who have died after taking part in the London Olympic Games," wrote Gilles Festor in Le Figaro on March 5th.
French swimmer Camille Muffat and boxer Alexis Vastine were part of a tragic accident when two helicopters collided in mid-air in Argentina. They were filming a French reality TV show, Dropped, where celebrities are dropped into a hostile environment, left to fend for themselves.
So is there really a curse, or is it expected that people will die in the matter of four years? Considering 10,568 people competed in the London Olympics, 18 deaths does not sound like a lot. But with an average age of 26, and assuming most, if not all, are healthy, it is debatable.
Based on rough mortality rates "you would expect 7.89 people in 1,000 to die," says Rob Mastrodomenico, a sports statistician at Global Sports Statistics.
So one could expect about 333 to perish over a four-year period in a group of 10,568 people, he says.
However, taking their young age into account, we should expect nearly seven deaths a year, says Mastrodomenico, or 28 deaths in four years.
So this “curse” is definitely below the statistical estimate, in turn, not making it any sort of “curse.”