Vancouver 2010 Olympic gold medal sells for $71,600 Cdn at auction
Freestyle skiing champion Alexei Grishin of Belarus raising money to help someone in need of an operation
A men's freestyle skiing gold medal from the Vancouver 2010 Olympics has sold for $55,000 US at auction, the equivalent of $71,600 Cdn.
The medal's owner had originally asked not to be identified by the auction house RR Auction in Boston, but after CBC News published the story about the medal going to auction, 2010 aerials champion Alexei Grishin of Belarus identified himself as the seller.
Grishin also put up the bronze medal he won in aerials at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. It sold for $22,778 US or $29,600 Cdn.
According to Belarus news outlet TUT.BY, the 40-year-old decided to auction the medals to raise money for a person close to him who needs a "serious operation."
"I have no other opportunity to help him but to sell the medals," he told TUT.BY. "For me, human life is more important than a medal."
Grishin is one of Belarus' best known athletes. His 2010 medal was the first Winter Olympic gold won by Belarus. The bronze medal won in Salt Lake City was his country's only medal of the 2002 Olympic Games.
Grishin also competed in a remarkable five straight Winter Olympics, from 1998 to 2014.
The 2010 gold medal had been on display at the Museum of Contemporary Belarusian Statehood in Minsk. However, a spokesperson said it was only a temporary acquisition and had recently been returned.
Bobby Livingston of RR Auction said it was rare to have such a recent Olympic gold medal offered at auction, something that potentially made it more valuable to collectors.