Israel's Sole Olympic Gold Winner to Auction Off Medal Because He 'Needs the Money'

Gal Fridman, the now-retired windsurfer champ from the 2004 Athens Games, once said 'no amount of money could replace' his gold medal

Israel's Gal Fridman sailing in the men's windsurfer mistral class bites his gold medal during the award ceremony at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, August 25, 2004.
Peter Andrews/Reuters

Gal Fridman, Israel’s only Olympic gold medalist, is planning to put his historic medal up for auction, because he said he needs the money. Fridman won his medal in windsurfing at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

In a statement published on his Facebook page, Fridman said he was looking for an “eBay expert who understands how to auction a rare item, the only one of its kind in Israel.” Then, in response to questions from commenters, he acknowledged that the item in question was his Olympic medal.

Some of those responding urged the Israeli sportsman not to sell the medal; others wanted to know how much he hoped to get from the sale. To these questions, Fridman wrote: “Answers only for serious people with a lot of money” and “Do you have any good ideas for what to do with it?”

He later told the Walla Sport internet site that, “For now, I’m just looking into how much it’s worth. I need the money. It will be sold at a price that I consider to be appropriate.”

Fridman won a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. In 2001, immediately after returning from a two-year absence, he won the world championship in windsurfing. He quit the sport for good in 2008.

Today, at age 43, he coaches other windsurfers, but his main source of income comes from his work as a photographer at weddings and other events.

In 2005, someone broke into his parents’ house and stole various items from their safe, including Fridman's two Olympic medals. A few days later, passersby strolling on the beach found the medals. But before they were found, Fridman declared of the gold, “No amount of money could replace this medal.”