Olympic Sprinter Dies at 32 After Being Shot in His Hometown: Report

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Olympic sprinter Alex Quiñónez, who was one of the most beloved track stars in his country, died Friday after being shot in his Ecuador hometown.

A friend also died. The two were in Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city. Quinonez was only 32. The Ecuadorian Olympic Committee confirmed Quinonez’s death, Saturday.

Andrea Sotomayor, the secretary-general of the Ecuadorian Olympic Committee, expressed her outrage and sorrow on Twitter after she learned of Quinonez’s death. She called it “so much evil.”

“I don’t have words to express the sadness, helplessness and indignation that is overwhelming me. Álex Quiñónez was the synonym of humility and a clear example of resilience. His loss leaves us with pain in our chests.”

Country’s President Spoke Out About the Double Murder

Guillermo Lasso, the country’s president, promised the murder “will not go unpunished.” Lasso’s promise shows Olympic sprinter’s popularity within his country.

Quinonez competed at the 2012 Olympics in London. He earned a spot in the finals where he finished a very respectable seventh. Usain Bolt, perhaps the world’s greatest Olympic sprinter, won gold.

Quiononez top sporting moment probably was in 2019 at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar. He won the bronze medal running the 200 meters. American Noah Lyles earned the gold and Canadian Andre De Grasse earned silver. Both medaled at the 2020 Tokyo Games. The Covid 19 pandemic delayed the Tokyo Games until this summer.

Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Local Newspaper Reported Details of Olympic Sprinter’s Death

El Universo, a newspaper based in Guayaquil, reported that the Olympic sprinter was killed Friday night on a street corner in the northwest part of the city. Jojairo Arcalla, his friend, also died. Police have yet to announce any arrests.

The Olympic sprinter’s death let athletic officials and fans across the country heartbroken.

Roberto Ibáñez, a Guayas athletic official, posted on social media:

“My heart is completely destroyed. Rest in peace Alex, I’ll miss you for the rest of my life.”

The ministry of sport described Quinonez as the “greatest sprinter” in the country’s history. That’s not a hyperbolic statement. Quinonez still owns the national records in 100 meters, (10.09 seconds), 200 (19.87) and 400 (46.28).

The Olympic sprinter was on track to have an eventful summer. He made the team that was competing in Tokyo. This year’s field didn’t have Usain Bolt. But sports authorities suspended Quinonez from competing after he failed to show up for a required doping screen.

Crime is at a high in the city of Guayaquil, as well as other parts of Ecuador. The country’s president declared a state of emergency as police tried to tackle all the drug trafficking cases. The president ordered more police and even the military to man the streets.

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