Olympic weightlifter Oleksandr Pielieshenko killed in Russia-Ukraine war

Ukrainian Oleksandr Pielieshenko finished fourth in the weightlifting competition at the 2016 Summer Games. Photo by Larry W. Smith/EPA

May 6 (UPI) -- Weightlifter Oleksandr Pielieshenko, who competed for Ukraine in the 2016 Summer Games, died while fighting in the Russia-Ukraine war, the Ukrainian Weightlifting Federation announced Monday. He was 30.

"It is with great sadness that we announce that today that the heart of the honored master of sports of Ukraine, two-time European weightlifting champion Oleksandr Pielieshenko, stopped beating," the federation said.

"We express our sincere condolences to the family and all who knew Oleksandr!"

The Ukrainian Olympic Committee said Pielieshenko joined the armed forces early in the war.

Pielieshenko was a two-time European champion. He won titles -- in the 85 kilogram, light-heavyweight division -- in 2016 and 2017 at the European Weightlifting Championships.

He finished fourth in the 85 kilogram class in 2016 at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Iranian Kianoush Rostami set a world record with a total lift of 396 kilograms en route to the gold medal. China's Tao Tian submitted a total lift of 395 pounds for the silver medal. Kazakhstan's Denis Ulanov (390) earned the bronze medal. Pielieshenko totaled 385 kilograms.

In 2018, the International Weightlifting Federation barred Pielieshenko from competing until 2026 because of a drug test. He also was was barred from competition from 2013 to 2015 because of a doping violation.