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 ESPN.com. “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’

U.S. sprinters past, present trade relay barbs

Justin Gatlin
Getty Images
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The only loss for the Americans at the Penn Relays came in the men’s 4x100m, as the U.S. team bobbled its victory away on a bad baton handoff between Tyson Gay and Isiah Young for the final leg, which led to a disqualification.

Mike Rodgers and Justin Gatlin gave the Americans an early lead in the race, and things were moving along well during Gay’s third leg. But the muffed handoff for the final leg cost the Americans. Both the winning Jamaican squad and the second American team surpassed them.

Young finished third, but the team was disqualified because the handoff occurred outside the pass zone. The second U.S. team of Sean McLean, Wallace Spearman, Calesio Newman and Remontay McLain finished in 39.02.

The mistake led to some inflammatory comments from U.S. great Leroy Burrell about continued problems with handoffs by U.S. relay teams.

“Well, I think we’ve got to put our team together a little earlier, possibly,” Burrell said in a television interview. “I think, we’ve had the same coaches working with these guys for many years, and we’ve had failure after failure. So it’s possible that, you know, it might be time for a bit of a regime change with the leadership.

“I think the athletes have to be the catalysts that make that happen. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get the stick around. I saw thousands of relay teams yesterday — maybe not thousands, but hundreds of relay teams get it around. But the professionals can’t. That’s just not good for our sport.”

Rodgers didn’t take kindly to those remarks.

“People keep pointing their fingers and downing us, but nobody has ever tried to come out there and help us,” he said. “Nobody from the past. Not Carl [Lewis] or Leroy. They haven’t been out there. I can’t really respect their opinions because they’re supposed to be leaders in our sport and in the USA, and they’re not coming out there to drop some knowledge on us, so I don’t care what they have to say.”

Lewis criticized U.S. relays in March.

Gatlin was equally critical of Burrell.

“I’m tired of people who have been part of Team USA take shots at Team USA,” Gatlin said. “To put us in the same boat as high schoolers is insulting.”

Bob Costas’ report 100 days out from Rio (video)

Bob Costas
NBC News
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Bob Costas reported from Rio de Janeiro for NBC News on Wednesday, 100 days out from the Opening Ceremony.

In the clip below, Michael PhelpsSimone Biles and even Brazil soccer legend Pelé comment on preparing for the first Games in South America.

Costas finished the clip with a stand-up from Copacabana Beach, where beach volleyball will take place in August.

VIDEO: Bob Costas picks biggest storyline of Rio Olympics