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4 U.S. Water Polo Players Injured In Structural Collapse At Nightclub Near FINA World Championships

By Chrös McDougall | July 27, 2019, 11:41 a.m. (ET)

Kaleigh Gilchrist scores on her shot in front of Nicola Zagame of Australia at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Water Polo exhibition on May 22, 2016 in Los Angeles.


Four Americans were injured in a structural collapse that killed two early Saturday morning at a nightclub in Gwangju, South Korea, where the FINA World Championships are being held, according to various reports.

Kaleigh Gilchrist and Paige Hauschild, who led the U.S. women’s water polo team to an unprecedented third straight world title on Friday, were among those injured at the Coyote Ugly nightclub.

Gilchrist, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist, suffered a serious laceration on her leg and underwent surgery on Saturday, USA Water Polo confirmed on its website, while Hauschild suffered a laceration on her arm that required stitches.

Men’s water polo player Johnny Hooper also suffered a laceration on his arm that required stitches, while Ben Hallock, a 2016 Olympian, had minor scrapes on his leg.

The men’s water polo team finished ninth in Gwangju, with their last game being held on Thursday.

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The indecent occurred around 2:30 a.m. when a balcony and staircase collapsed with an estimated 370 people still in the club, the BBC reported. Two people died and at least 17 were injured, the BBC added, including several athletes. The two people who died were from South Korea and were not athletes.

"This is an awful tragedy," said Christopher Ramsey, head of USA Water Polo. "Players from our men's and women's teams were celebrating the women's world championship victory when the collapse occurred at a public club. "Our hearts go out to the victims of the crash and their families."

The FINA World Championships continue through Sunday.

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

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