Chinese media reported that Polish athlete Paul Fajdek lost his gold medal whilst out on a bender after winning first place in the hammer throw at the World championship competition in Beijing on Monday. Luckily for the champion, the prize was returned to him the following day.
China Radio International initially heralded the success of Beijing police that recovered the medal from a taxi driver, who it reported had ‘accepted it as a tip’ from the ‘drunken’ Fajdek the previous night (the report seems to have since been changed).
The athlete later commented on the story with a post on his Facebook profile thanking various parties for their cooperation and saying that the taxi driver had “driven off with my property”.
“The Chinese media reaction was logical, they wouldn’t place the guilt on their own citizen because it’s easiest to just blame it on the other side,” he wrote.
He suggested that he and a hotel manager tracked down the cab and retrieved the medal, calling the initial media reports “stupid rumors”. The details of what happened that night still remain hazy.
Fajdek was relieved to be reunited with his prized object. He posted on his FB, “Thank you very much for all the congratulations and kind words:) you guys are great!!!! And just for you, my new baby up close :)”
This is a second gold medal for the Polish goliath and it probably won’t be his last. Thanks to the hot pursuit of Beijing’s Chaoyang district police force, with the help of hotel staff, and a ransom fee paid to the taxi driver, Fajdek can add Beijing 2015 to his growing collection.
by Dan Cunningham