2020 Tokyo Olympics Athlete Auctions Off Medal to Pay for Child’s Surgery for ‘Heart Defect’

by Michael Freeman

Though the 2020 Tokyo Olympics scored “underwhelming” ratings, some of the kind acts that emerged are anything but. One such act was an Olympic athlete selling her medal to help pay for a child’s heart surgery.

Maria Andrejcyzk, a Polish javelin thrower, won her first medal at the Tokyo Olympics this year. However, instead of keeping her silver medal, she decided she wanted to use it for an honorable cause. Maria auctioned her silver medal and said she would use the proceeds to help someone in society.

Having beat bone cancer herself in 2018, Maria searched for possible people to help when she stumbled upon an 8-month-old’s story. Miloszek direly needed heart surgery at Stanford University, but the costs were astronomical. For reference, the total would have been roughly $385,000.

“It didn’t take me long to decide, it was the first fundraiser I entered and I knew it was the right one. Miloszek has a serious heart defect and is in need of surgery.”

While one wouldn’t normally expect a silver medal to sell for so much, a Polish convenience store, Zabka, decided to help. Zabka became aware of the auction and began bidding on the medal. Continuously outbidding competitors, the store managed to spike the medal’s price to roughly $178,000. Other contributions through the silver medal auction made the total approximately $200,000.

The Tokyo Olympics athlete, humbled by the auction, issued a statement on Facebook. “The winner, and at the same time, the company I will be eternally grateful to is the company Zabka. It is with the greatest pleasure to give you Zabka this medal, which for me is a symbol of struggle, faith and pursuit of dreams despite many odds.”

“I hope that for you it will be a symbol of the life we fought for together.”

To top it off, despite winning the medal, Zabka told Maria to keep her medal. Maria issued a response to The Times (UK).

“The true value of a medal always remains in the heart. A medal is only an object, but it can be of great value to others. This silver can save lives, instead of collecting dust in a closet.”

As of now, Miloszek’s fundraiser sits at 94% with eight days left to donate.

2020 Tokyo Olympics: The Most Expensive in History

Though the Olympics always sport a hefty price tag, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is the most expensive in history. For example, it took Montreal, the city hosting the 1976 games, 30 years to pay off the debt.

The Tokyo games cost $15.4 billion total, twice the budget originally predicted. The Olympics regularly go over allocated budget plans, but COVID-19 and pandemic delays made things even worse. Delaying the games also resulted in contracts having to be renegotiated, raising costs even more.

Taxpayers were responsible for a bit over half the total amount, leaving private funding to pay for the rest. Paying off this debt in 30 years does not seem likely.