In the days of the Cold War, a certain type of story would inevitably circulate in American newspapers after the Olympic Games were over; you made have heard it more recently about, say, North Korean athletes. The claim was always that, due to poor performance in such-and-such an Olympics, the sportsmen and –women in question were coldly stripped of certain priveleges, often getting their state-granted cars repossessed along with eviction notices from luxury (relatively) apartments.
Well, it seems in the 21st-century capitalist world, Russian basketballers who finish with the bronze medal have a different obstacle to face.
On Saturday, the home of Team Russia’s Vitaly Fridzon was broken into. Among the items stolen was the 2012 bronze medal just earned in London; today, Fridzon’s professional club, Euroleague side BC Khimki Moscow region, has put out a plea to the perpetrators to return the valuable bit of hardware. The statement runs as follows.
“We, the Khimki basketball club and its fans, appeal to the consciences of the [thieves of Vitaly’s home]. Return Vitaly’s Olympic medal! This award is priceless and is the result of years of work by an incredible athlete. For you, an Olympic medal is only an object of gain, but for Vitaly is the memory of a lifetime. We ask you to return to our captain and leader of the Russian team his well-deserved Olympic bronze medal.”