Italy’s three-time former Olympic canoeing champion Antonio Rossi is recovering in hospital after suffering a heart attack running a half-marathon, according to local media reports on Tuesday.
The 52-year-old felt unwell while taking part in a race at Conegliano near Treviso at the weekend and was taken to hospital in Como, northern Italy.
Rossi, now undersecretary for sport in the Lombardy region overseeing major events including the 2026 Winter Olympics in Milan-Cortina, was reported to be recovering well and will be discharged in the coming days.
“I wanted a plausible excuse to enjoy the (Tokyo) Olympics in peace,” Rossi was quoted as saying in Gazzetta Dello Sport.
“I’m fine, the situation is under control and I expect to quickly return to normal.
“There are many messages of affection that I am receiving in these hours. To all those who have been close to me, a big virtual hug and see you soon.”
Rossi won two golds at the 1996 Atlanta Games and another in Sydney four years later.
He also won bronze in the 1992 Barcelona Games and a silver in Athens 2004, and was Italy’s flagbearer at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.