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Soraya Jimenez, Mexico's first female Olympic champion, dies at 35

March 29, 2013|By Dan Loumena
  • Weightlifter Soraya Jimenez salutes from the victory stand as the national anthem of Mexico plays after she received her gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Weightlifter Soraya Jimenez salutes from the victory stand as the national… (Patrick Herzog / AFP/Getty…)

Soraya Jimenez, who won the 58-kilogram weightlifting competition at the 2000 Sydney Games to become Mexico's first female Olympic champion, died of a heart attack Thursday at her home in Mexico City. She was 35.

Jimenez, who retired after numerous injuries and surgeries to her left knee. She was described in a statement by the Mexico Olympic Committee as one of her country's "most beloved athletes."

She won her gold medal with a lift of 497 pounds.

Following her retirement from competition before the 2004 Athens Games, Jimenez became a broadcaster for Televisa, the largest Spanish-language media company in the world and parent of Univision in the U.S.

Jimenez had been accused of doping in 2002 but was exonerated of the charges. She reportedly said that some of her health problems were caused by a weakened immune system after several bouts with the flu.

The only other Mexican woman to win an Olympic gold medal is Maria Espinoza, who claimed victory in taekwondo at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Wire service and Internet reports contributed to this report.

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