November 22, 2019 / 7:09 AM / 19 days ago

Athletics: Former NZ Olympic champ Snell survives heart scare while driving

(Reuters) - New Zealand’s former three-times Olympic champion Peter Snell has said he passed out while driving earlier this week due to a heart issue and was unable to travel to Monte Carlo to be honoured at a World Athletics event.

Snell, who won gold in the 800m at the 1960 and 1964 Olympics and the 1,500m in 1964, was on his way back from the dentist when the episode occurred and he crashed into parked cars.

"What it does is the (heart) rate goes up too high and that causes me to pass out," Snell, who turns 81 next month, told The New Zealand Herald here "That may be because I failed to take my pills that morning."

Snell said he went against his doctor’s advice and attempted to travel from Dallas to Thursday’s World Athletics Heritage Mile Night in Monte Carlo before abandoning the trip when he felt unwell at the airport.

“I was actually packed and all ready to go,” Snell, who was due to be honoured for setting the 1,000m and one-mile world records in Auckland, added.

“But I waited and sat down with my wife and we decided the way I’m feeling that it would be too risky to take the flight, because if I had an event on the flight there would be nothing I could do about it.”

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherfordpeter.rutherford@thomsonreuters.com; +822 6936 1482

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