Thomas Bach

IOC president expresses thoughts on Jesse Owens’ gold medal auction

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That one of Jesse Owens‘ four gold medals earned at the 1936 Olympics is going up for auction is a “very difficult decision” to accept, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said.

“[It has] an importance far beyond the sporting achievements of Jesse Owens, which is part of world history,” Bach told The Associated Press at an anti-doping conference in South Africa on Wednesday. “To put this up for an auction is for me a very difficult decision [to accept].”

It’s been known since July that one of Owens’ medals would be auctioned off. The news picked up buzz in the last week with more reports as the auction got closer. It will be sold to the highest bidder Dec. 7.

The IOC will not intervene in the sale, according to the AP.

An official with SCP Auctions, which will reportedly begin the auction Nov. 20, said in August he expected the medal to bring in “several hundred thousand dollars.” Another SCP official said he expected more than $1 million last week.

“We think this is a seven-figure piece,” SCP auctions president David Kohler told “We expect to see a good deal of international interest and could see some institutions bidding. This is so much bigger than a piece of sports memorabilia. It’s a piece of history.”

The company does not know if the medal is from the 100m, the 200m, the long jump or the 4×100m relay, all won by Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Owens triumphed in front of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler.

The medal is “a part of world heritage,” Bach told the AP.

Owens gifted the medal to entertainer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson after the 1936 Olympics, according to “Mr. Bojangles: The Biography of Bill Robinson.” It was consigned by the family of Robinson’s widow, according to SCP Auctions. Robinson gave Owens tap-dancing lessons, according to “Jesse Owens: A Biography.”

“It shows some wear, some handling wear,” SCP Auctions managing director Dan Imler said three months ago. “I would say a moderate degree … but it still presents very well.”

In 2010, 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey player Mark Wells sold his gold medal from the “Miracle on Ice” team for $310,700. Mike Eruzione sold his hockey stick from the U.S.-Russia game and his jersey from the following game against Finland for $262,900 and $286,800, respectively, to a 9-year-old boy named Seven in February.

Usain Bolt’s obsession with ‘Call of Duty’

Ashton Eaton named male IAAF Athlete of the Year

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American decathlete Ashton Eaton was named the 2015 male Athlete of the Year by the International Association of Athletics Federations, the world governing body for track and field. Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba, the reigning world champion in the 1500m, was named the female IAAF Athlete of the Year.

Eaton is the first decathlete and just the eighth American man to win the title. Tyson Gay in 2007 was the last American man to be named.

The honor came due to Eaton’s world-record-setting performance at the world championships held in Beijing this past August. There he beat the previous record, his own from the 2012 Olympic Trials, by nine points. He also set a world record for running the fastest 400m portion of the decathlon in 45.00 seconds.

In the IAAF press release, Eaton said, “Athletes spend the most vigorous years of human life, arguably called the ‘best years’, working to hone their abilities. So, when an athlete competes, what people are witnessing is the manifestation of what a human being is capable of when they choose to direct all of their time and effort towards something.

“I’m grateful and thankful to the IAAF for excellent competitions, the canvases that allow us to display our work.”

He also acknowledged sprinter Usain Bolt and triple jumper Christian Taylor, who were also up for the title: “While I’m honored that I am considered the ‘artist’ of the year, I did not beat Usain and Christian; my work simply differed in design. They are some of the most talented and beautiful performers of all time. I’m flattered to be among them.”

Dibaba has been unbeaten in the 1500m over five races in 2015. Along with winning gold and setting a world record in the 1500 at the Beijing World Championships, Diababa won a bronze medal in the 5000m event.

She gratefully accepted the award, saying, “After being a finalist and narrowly missing out on this award one year ago, I am very proud to be recognized by the fans and experts of our sport.

“I had a great season and truly enjoyed competing around the world, from Monaco where I managed to establish a world record, to Beijing where I finally captured my first world outdoor title.”

Dibaba was recently featured in a family-themed promotional video for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

MORE: Seb Coe splits from Nike as IAAF president


Olympians celebrate Thanksgiving

Meryl Davis
Team USA/ Twitter
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Nov. 26 – or Thanksgiving to the rest of us – is oftentimes a typical training day for many Olympians and Olympic hopefuls. Here’s a look at how some of them spent the day training, competing, celebrating, and being thankful.

Workout football and food😁👍!!! Happy thanksgiving everyone!!!

A photo posted by Michael Phelps (@m_phelps00) on

Happy Thanksgiving from our cold cuts Turkey to yours! #family #happyhappyheart

A photo posted by @cammileadams on

Happy Thanksgiving from the SwimMAC Parade crew!

A photo posted by Tyler Clary (@tylerclary) on


MORE: NBC’s Thanksgiving Rio promo