Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Police Say Former Olympic Runner David Torrence's Death Ruled An Accident

Photo: Vaugh Ridley/Getty
Photo: Vaugh Ridley/Getty

Olympic distance runner and American record holder David Torrence was found dead last August in his swimming pool in Scottsdale, Ariz. Today, Scottsdale police told Deadspin that Torrence’s death has officially been ruled an accident.


Torrence moved to Scottsdale to train after competing in the 2016 Olympics for Peru, and he was found at the bottom of the pool in his apartment complex on the morning of Aug. 28, 2017, at the age of 31. A cause of death was not announced at the time, and police opened an investigation.

“The investigation of this incident by the Scottsdale Police Department has been completed. Mr. Torrence’s death, although tragic, has been ruled accidental,” Scottsdale PD Public Information Officer Benjamin Hoster said in a statement to Deadspin. “There is no evidence that indicates a criminal nexus or foul play in this incident.”

Beyond it being an accident, a specific cause of death was not released; Torrence’s father died of an aneurysm at the same age. Deadspin has requested a coroner’s report.

Torrence ran for Cal before turning pro and representing the United States. He set the American indoor record for 1,000 meters in 2014, and he was also part of record-setting 4 x 800 meter and 4 x 1500 meter relay teams. All three records still stand today, though Torrence stopped running for the United States in 2016 in order to compete for Peru at the Rio Olympics. Torrence finished 15th in the 5,000 meter race in Rio, and broke Peruvian records for the 5K, 1,500, and mile.

However, Torrence might be even more famous for his non-Olympic exploits, once betting a teammate he could break four minutes in the mile. He won the bet, which meant his teammate had to run a naked mile, clocking in at 3:46 at 2:00 a.m., tearing ass down a hill in Berkeley.

Torrence was a vocal anti-doping advocate, and he even helped the IAAF with an anti-doping investigation into Somali track coach Jama Aden. He never shied away from speaking his mind, and his strong and occasionally odd personality made him beloved in the strange, isolated world of track and field. From Runner’s World:

“The passion with which he competed and trained was the same passion with which he approached being an ambassador for the sport,” [longtime friend Will] Leer said. “I hope that is something we can all learn—this is a bit of a cult sport and it’s a little bit of a strange sport. And the people who follow it are a little bit strange. But he returned the love to them. He was so good at it. We could all do better.”

Staff writer, Deadspin