Race Walker Tragedy

:frowning: SAN DIEGO, Feb 19 AP - A top US race walker who failedto earn a spot on the Olympic team was found dead belowa freeway bridge today.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) said the death ofAlbert Heppner was a suspected suicide. He was 29.
Heppner, a member of the US Army World Class AthleticProgram, finished fifth in the US Olympic Trials 50kmwalk on Sunday after leading much of the race.
Only the winner, Curt Claussen, qualified for theAthens Olympics.
Heppner’s body was found at the bottom of a 60m gorgeearly this morning, CHP officer Brian Pennings said.
Officers responding to a missing persons report foundan unoccupied vehicle near the Pine Valley Bridge. Badweather delayed the search, and Border Patrol agentsarrived two hours later with floodlights and found thebody.
Heppner was ranked No.2 nationally in the 20km race in2002 by Track & Field News.
He won the US 5km championship in 2002, and last monthwas second in the 30km US championships.
Heppner was part of the US team in the Pan AmericanGames in 1998 and 2001, as well as the IAAF World Race Walk Cupin 1999.
Al was a great athlete and a great advocate for thesport of track and field, most particularly the racewalk,'' said Craig Masback, head of USA Track and Field. The entire track and field community mourns hispassing and will miss him. Our sympathies go to hisfamily.’’

Its a terrible tragedy and the entire race walking community in the US and abroad is in mourning over a lost friend.