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Archive for Sunday, August 10, 2008

Former Olympian’s father killed

August 10, 2008

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— The fatal stabbing of the father of a former Olympian at a Beijing landmark cast a sad shadow over the first full day of Olympic competition Saturday, just hours after China's jubilant opening of the Summer Games.

Todd and Barbara Bachman of Lakeville, Minn. - parents of 2004 volleyball Olympian Elisabeth "Wiz" Bachman and in-laws of U.S. men's volleyball coach Hugh McCutcheon - were attacked by a Chinese man while visiting the 13th-century Drum Tower.

The U.S. Olympic Committee confirmed Bachman died from knife wounds and that Barbara Bachman suffered life-threatening injuries. She and their Chinese tour guide, who was also injured in the attack, were being treated in a Beijing hospital.

Elisabeth Bachman was with them at the time of the attack, but uninjured. Her father was chief executive officer for Bachman's, Inc., a home-and-garden center based in Minneapolis.

The assailant, Tang Yongming, 47, leapt to his death from a 130-foot high balcony on the Drum Tower, just five miles from the main Olympics site, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

Relatives said Barbara Bachman had undergone surgery and was in intensive care at a Beijing hospital.

"The next 24 hours will be critical," said Dale Bachman, Todd's second cousin.

According to Dale Bachman, Todd Bachman was walking a few steps behind his wife and daughter at a Beijing tourist site when he was attacked by a knife-wielding stranger. Barbara Bachman heard the commotion and turned to help her husband.

"That's when she was attacked," Dale Bachman said. "To me, that was a strong indication of her love. She is a fabulous person."

President Bush, in the Chinese capital for the games, expressed sadness while American athletes and Olympics officials reacted with disbelief.

There was no indication that the assailant knew that his victims had any connection to the games. "For all intents, it appears to be a random attack by a deranged man," an American member of the International Olympic Committee, Jim Easton, told The Associated Press.

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