Here's a great story from Vancouver, Canada about the replacement of two stolen Olympic gold medals.
Tracey and Brian Mead place the replica gold medals into a case, where they'll be on display at the BC Sports Hall of Fame in Vancouver, B.C. on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023.
More than 40 years after they were stolen, a pair of historic Olympic gold medals are back where they belong.
Sprinter Percy Williams stunned onlookers and inspired Canadians when he won both the 100 and 200-metre races at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam, but his story was marked by a "dark cloud" after a thief snatched the awards from the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame in 1980, said his cousin, Brian Mead.
That changed Friday when the Canadian Olympic Committee presented Williams' extended family with newly minted medals. The family then donated them back to the Hall.
"When people come now, they won't see (evidence of the theft) or even hear it. They'll look at his display, see his accomplishments, see his medals. And then they'll go home thinking he was a great Canadian," Mead said.
Williams was a surprising athlete.
Born in 1908, he suffered rheumatic fever as a boy and told by doctors to take it easy. He didn't listen and instead drew attention for his natural speed despite his small stature, said B.C. Sports Hall of Fame curator Jason Beck.
"Physically, Percy Williams looked a lot different than what we expect a big, powerful, muscular sprinter to be today," Beck said. "He was only five foot six in height and weighed a wispy 125 pounds."
Expectations for the Vancouver native were low when he lined up to race in Amsterdam. After powering through the 100m heats and the semifinals, though, Williams streaked down the track in 10.8 seconds to take gold in the finals.
"(The win) was so unexpected that organizers had to scramble to find a Canadian flag for the medal ceremony," Beck said.
Williams was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1949 and Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 1955 before being made an Officer of Canada in 1979.
Before his death, Williams donated a trove of his memorabilia to the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, including his medals. In 1980, just weeks after they were put on display, 16 of the medals were stolen, including the two Olympic golds. While some of the medals were returned anonymously about 15 years later, the golds were never recovered.
After learning about Williams and his legacy a few years ago, Brian and Tracy Mead asked the Canadian Olympic Committee to replace the medals.
The COC worked with the International Olympic Committee, which found the original moulds and specifications so the prizes could be remade.
The process was finally completed Friday when Smith handed Brian and Tracy Mead each a small brown box containing a medal exactly like the ones Williams received back in 1928. Each circular piece of gold has a raised image of a goddess sitting on a cloud and the words "Olympian Amsterdam 1928."
To read the complete article, see:
Olympic gold medals won by Percy Williams replaced 43 years after theft
Wayne Homren, Editor
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