Is there anything that’s sacred any more? IOC president Thomas Bach said it’s difficult to accept that a gold medal won by Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics will be auctioned and possibly bought by a private collector, Yahoo News reports.
The medal, one of four golds that Owens won at the Berlin Games in front of Adolf Hitler, is ”a part of world heritage,” Bach said Wednesday.
”(It has) an importance far beyond the sporting achievements of Jesse Owens, which is part of world history,” the IOC president said in an interview with The Associated Press at an anti-doping conference in South Africa. ”To put this up for an auction is for me a very difficult decision (to accept).”
The International Olympic Committee will not intervene in the sale. SCP Auctions says the medal could go for more than $1 million when the auction opens later this month.
According to the auction house, Owens gave the medal to his friend, movie star Bill ”Bojangles” Robinson, to thank him for helping the athlete find work in the entertainment industry after he returned from Germany. It is being sold by the estate of Robinson’s late widow.
Jesse Owens, who died in 1980, won gold medals at the Berlin Olympics for 100m, 200m, 4X100m relay and the long jump.