Olympic champion loses gold medal escaping California fire, reports say

Henry Cejudo
Reuters
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Henry Cejudo suffered foot burns and lost his Olympic gold medal escaping a California wildfire on Monday, according to reports.

Cejudo did not return messages seeking confirmation Tuesday.

The wrestler turned UFC fighter said he was lucky to be alive after jumping out of the second floor of a two-story hotel to escape the smoke at 4:30 a.m. on Monday, according to Yahoo Sports.

“You know, the medal just was an object, just a medal and that’s it,” Cejudo said, according to the report. “What really meant something was the blood, the sweat, the tears that went into getting that medal. I’ll always have the memories of that with me.

“I’m not too worried about that. This was a tragedy, just like that terrible thing that happened in [Las] Vegas. It’s awful. Losing a medal, man, I am fortunate to be here talking to you and being alive. That’s the important thing.”

Cejudo, who became the then-youngest U.S. Olympic wrestling champion at 21 at Beijing 2008, gained instant fame as the son of undocumented immigrants from Mexico. In Rio, Kyle Snyder broke Cejudo’s record as youngest gold medalist.

Cejudo’s story was told in a book, “American Victory.”

After failing to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials, Cejudo debuted in mixed martial arts in 2013. He is 11-2 with a scheduled fight Dec. 2.

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