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Greek Olympian Alexandros Nikolaidis Dies at 42

Alexandros Nikolaidis
Alexandros Nikolaidis suffered from a rare form of cancer. Public Domain

Greek Olympian and taekwondo champion Alexandros Nikolaidis has died at 42 after fighting a rare form of cancer for more than two years.

In a moving message he wrote before he died that was released on Friday he explained how nut carcinoma took his life:

“For two years, I was also tortured by cancer. I had a rare type of cancer, nut carcinoma, that currently nine out of ten Greek doctors who read this message, are probably hearing it for the first time and will rush to look it up.”

Nikolaidis was named the 2008 Greek Male Athlete of the Year. Initially the home favorite, he eventually won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics held in Athens after losing to Moon Dae-Sung of South Korea in the gold medal match.

Alexandros Nikolaidis long career in taekwondo

On March 24, 2008 Alexandros Nikolaidis had the honor to be the first torch-bearer of the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay.

Later in the same year on April 11, he won the European Championship in Rome.

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Nikolaidis won another Olympic silver medal in the +80 kg category, after losing to Cha Dong-Min of South Korea in the final.

In July 2011, he managed to secure a place at the 2012 Olympic Games by placing third in the 2011 World Taekwondo Olympic Qualification Tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan by defeating Liu Xiaobo of China in the 3rd place play-off. He carried the flag for Greece during the Parade of Nations at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

On August 11, 2012 Nikolaidis began and ended his Olympics participation in a “preliminary round” bout against Bahri Tanrikulu. Nikolaidis lost 7-3 overall.

After retiring in 2014 he entered politics. He became a deputy spokesman for the main opposition party Syriza.

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