Three French athletes were among the 10 people killed when two helicopters crashed Monday in Argentina.
Olympic swimming gold medalist Camille Muffat, boxing bronze medalist Alexis Vastine and pioneering sailor Florence Arthaud were killed as the helicopters were filming a reality show.
Two helicopters collided in mid-air just after takeoff in western province of La Rioja about 700 miles north of Buenos Aires while filming the show "Dropped" for French TV channel TF1.
According to the Guardian, the reality show takes athletes, blindfolds them and leaves them in the wilderness where they must use whatever skills they have to make it back to civilization.
Muffat, 25, won three medals, including gold in the 400 freestyle in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She also won a silver medal in the 200 freestyle and a bronze in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay in London. She had retired from competition last year. Alexis Vastine, 28, won bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the light-welterweight boxing category and 57-year old Florence Arthaud was a sailor.
“We are shocked by this sad news. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of these great athletes who have left us,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in a statement. “With them, the world of sport and the Olympic family have lost three of their key members. They were all not only champions in their sport but also contributed greatly as role models.
“The Olympic Movement mourns with their families and friends, their fellow athletes, the French National Olympic Committee and with France,” Bach added.
Bach said that the Olympic flag will be flown at half-mast for three days at the IOC Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
- Scooby Axson