17 JAN 2013 Iaaf News Monte Carlo

IAAF mourns the deaths of Noe Hernandez and John Thomas

Mexico's Noe Hernandez (silver) and Bernard Segura (dq) at the Sydney Olympics (Getty Images)Mexico's Noe Hernandez (silver) and Bernard Segura (dq) at the Sydney Olympics (Getty Images) © Copyright

The IAAF is saddened to hear of the deaths in recent days of two Olympic medallists, Mexican race walker Noe Hernandez and the American former High Jump World record holder John Thomas.

Hernandez, 34, had  lost his left eye when a gunman opened fire in a bar in the Mexico City metropolitan area on 30 December and was recovering at home when he suffered an apparent heart attack and died on the way to hospital on Wednesday (16).

He won the 20km Race Walk silver medal at the 2000 Olympic Games and was fourth in the same event at the 2003 IAAF World Championships.

Thomas, 71, died in Brockton, Massachusetts on Tuesday (15).

He set four ratified outdoor World records in just over three months in the summer of 1960, culminating in a clearance of 2.22m.

However, after going undefeated for more than two years, Thomas suffered a surprise loss at the 1960 Olympic Games and had to settle for the bronze medal. Four years later, in Tokyo, he won the Olympic silver behind his friend and rival Valery Brumel.

Thomas also cleared a world indoor best height on no less than 10 occasion in 1959 and 1960, becoming the first man to clear seven feet indoors.

IAAF