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#pounditWednesday, July 17, 2024

18-year-old Jackson James Rice dies ahead of Olympics debut

Jackson James Rice smiles

18-year-old would-be Olympian Jackson James Rice died just weeks before the start of the games in Paris.

Rice was killed in a diving accident in Tonga from a “suspected shallow water blackout,” according to Mary Lyn Fonua of Matangi Tonga. His body was found underneath the boat he had been free diving from, and resuscitation attempts were unsuccessful.

Rice was preparing to represent Tonga in the Olympics in the sport of kite-foiling, a sport that bears some similarities to kite surfing. The 18-year-old was born in the United States to British parents before moving to Tonga at a young age.

Rice had qualified for the Olympics last December thanks to an eighth-place finish at a qualifying event in Sydney, Australia. He most recently competed in the 2024 Formula Kite World Championships in France.

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