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18-year-old tragically dies weeks before making history at Olympic Games in Paris

18-year-old tragically dies weeks before making history at Olympic Games in Paris

The tragic news comes just weeks before the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

An 18-year-old athlete who was set to make history at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris has tragically died.

France’s capital city Paris will play host to the 33rd edition of the Olympic Games, which will begin in July.

However, ahead of the much-anticipated event, there has been tragically sad news as 18-year-old Jackson James Rice died in a reported diving accident weeks before the Olympics.

As reported by The Sun, Rice was set to be the first Caucasian to represent Tonga at an Olympic Games.

The teenager was set to take part in the inaugural kite-foiling event. He secured a place at the games after qualifying in eighth place at a Sail Sydney event.

According to ANOC, kite foil racing is an event combining ‘sailing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing and paragliding into one extreme sport’.


It has been reported that Rice died in Faleloa, Tonga on Saturday from a suspected shallow water blackout when he was free-diving from a boat.

A report from Tongan news outlet Matangi stated that his body was found underneath the boat at 12:15 local time and resuscitation attempts were sadly unsuccessful.

On Sunday, Rice’s sister Lily wrote on social media: “I was blessed with the most amazing brother in the whole world and it pains me to say that he’s passed away.

“He was an amazing kitefoiler and he would have made it to the Olympics and come out with a big shiny medal … he made so many amazing friends all over the world.”

Rice was born in the United States to British parents before growing up in Ha’apai after moving to Tonga.

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Featured Image Credit: Instagram@jj_rice/Getty

Topics: Olympics