Three-time Olympian and 1984 Olympic silver medalist Mario Martinez died Sunday at the age of 60, according to his longtime coach Jim Schmitz.
Born July 6, 1957 in Salinas, California, Martinez was first exposed to the sport Olympic Weightlifting in 1972 at a meet Schmitz hosted in San Francisco. There, members of the 1972 Olympic Team competed one last time before heading to the Games in Munich. Together with his father, Martinez watched American records fall and Martinez first conceived his Olympic Dream.
One year later, at age 16, Martinez participated in his first USA Weightlifting competition, snatching 107.5kg at 80kg bodyweight. It was the start of a career that would lead him to becoming one of the most decorated American weightlifters in a generation.
“[Mario] was a fantastic person, I’m so sorry he is no longer with us,”
Schmitz said on Facebook.
Throughout his career, Martinez set the bar high for success. A 10-time National Champion, Martinez won gold at the Pan American Games in 1987, a silver at the 1991 Pan Am Games and a bronze at the 1995 Pan Am Games. Martinez set numerous American Records in his career and owns the honor of the last American man to win an Olympic medal in Weightlifting.
He made three Olympic teams, the first in 1984 in Los Angeles where he won the silver medal. Martinez followed up on this performance with a fourth place finish in Seoul, South Korea at the Games in 1988 and an eighth place finish at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain.
“We are saddened to learn of the loss of Mario Martinez,” USA Weightlifting CEO Phil Andrews said.
“Mario leaves a lasting legacy as the last American man to win a medal at the Olympic Games. A tough competitor through and through, Mario was a champion and we will miss him dearly.”
Source: USA Weightlifting