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February 21, 2009
Pulmonary embolism cause of death of Kamila Skolimowska

Kamila Skolimowska competes in the Women's Hammer during the Spar European Cup event held at the Olympic Stadium on June 24, 2007 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

By Jerzy Jakobsche, Polish PAP newsagency

Member AIPS Executive Committee, president Polish Sportswriters Association and president, UEPS

WARSAW, February 21, 2009 - The cause of the death of Polish Olympic hammer throw champion Kamila Skolimowska was a pulmonary embolism.

Polish Athletics Federation Chief Medical Officer and head of the federation’s medical commission, Dr Marek Prokop, last night revealed the initial results of an autopsy conducted by Portuguese authorities on Friday.

A more detailed report from the Portuguese coroner will be made public next week.

The autopsy report was first received by the Polish embassy in Lisbon and then shared with Skolimowska’s family who agreed to make the results public.

Kamila Skolimowska died suddenly on Wednesday, shortly before a weights workout at a Polish national team training camp in Portgual. Shortly before her training session the Sydney 2000 gold medal winner said she felt unwell. An ambulance was called and during the trip to hospital in Vila Real de Santo Antonio, the athlete lost consciousness and efforts to resuscitate failed.

According to a statement from Skolimowska’s father Robert, it is possible that other factors contributed to her death: “Following a discussion with the doctor I am of the opinion that there were causes: possibly a blood clot or over-training.

“My daughter had a swollen leg last Friday and it is possible that a subsequent massage may have forced a clot to the upper half of her body. It is unfortunate that there was no team doctor in Portugal. On the other hand, I know from my experience as a former athlete, that it is not possible to send a doctor to accompany such a small group.”

Polish President Lech Kaczynski has honoured the first, and youngest ever female hammer thrower to win Olympic gold with Poland’s highest award in recognition of her sporting achievements.

Skolimowska’s body is expected in Warsaw on Monday. A funeral service will be conducted on February 26 in Warsaw.

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