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Olympian Maricet Espinosa González Dead at 34

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In Memoriam: Fallen Stars of 2023

The sports world is currently in mourning.

Maricet Espinosa González, a star judo athlete who represented Cuba in the 2016 Olympic Games, died at age 34, the Pan American Judo Confederation confirmed on Jan. 22.

“With deep sadness we bid farewell to a legend of Pan-American and Cuban Judo. Maricet Espinosa, affectionately known as ‘La Mole’, leaves an indelible legacy,” the confederation said in an Instagram post in Spanish, via translation. “Rest in peace, our dearest Maricet. Our condolences to his family and Cuban judo. Your spirit and your achievements will last forever.”

Her cause of death has not been shared.

González was also mourned by Universidad del Deporte Cubano, internationally known as the Cuban Sports University, which educates Olympic hopefuls in Havana.

“On behalf of our teachers, workers and students,” the school said in a Jan. 21 Facebook post via translation, “we extend our deepest condolences to their families, friends and colleagues.”

González was born on Jan. 2, 1990, in Havana, Cuba. She was the Pan American Judo Champion in 2013 and 2014, and took home silver at the 2016 games, according to Inside Judo. She also competed in multiple Cuban championships and won the bronze medal at the Grand Slams in Rio de Janeiro, Tokyo and Baku.

Amandine Cucchietti / Icon Sport via Getty Images

She competed in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero in the women’s 63 kg event, but was eliminated in the second round. The following year, González retired from the Cuban national judo team after 10 years, per Inside Judo.

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