A 2000 gold medalist and Mexican hero has died of a heart attack at age 35.
Soraya Jiminez, a weightlifter who won a gold medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, was the first woman from Mexico to win gold. Jiminez died of a heart attack this week at age 35.
After a number of injuries forced her to retire from weightlifting, Jiminez became a sportscaster for the Televisa television network.
The Mexican Olympic Committee released a statement mourning the death of Jiminez, who was called “one of the most beloved athletes” of the nation.
Born in 1977 in Naucalpan, Jiminez was initially drawn to basketball, which she played along with her twin sister Magali. The two also practiced swimming and badminton, though Soraya Jiminez eventually made the shift to weightlifting.
At age 11 Jiminez entered the sport, and from there she quickly excelled. Jiminez earned her first big win at the 1993 NORECA Cup in Colorado, where she placed third. She went on to win gold at a tournament in Venezuela, one of a number of international victories.
But her biggest win came in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, where she took gold in the 58 kg class. In the competition she lifted a total of 222.5 kg, beating North Korean Ri Song-Hui by 0.5 kg.
Jiminez was not only the first woman from Mexico to win a gold medal, but one of the first women ever to medal in weightlifting. The sport was introduced at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Jiminez battled various health problems throughout her life, and had just one lung.
Despite problems with her health and injuries, Jiminez shocked many in the sport with her retirement in 2004. She had been accused in 2002 of doping, but was later cleared of the charges.
The 2000 gold medalist died as only one of two Mexican women to win gold. At the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, Maria Espinoza won gold in taekwondo.