Gal Fridman, Israel's Only Olympics Gold Winner, Tells Confidants He Won't Sell Medal After All

Olympics Committee said earlier that secretary general spoke with Fridman and offered organization's help with any financial difficulties

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Gal Fridman is surrounded by his supporters after winning gold at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games regatta August 25, 2004.
Gal Fridman is surrounded by his supporters after winning gold at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games regatta August 25, 2004. Credit: REUTERS/Peter Andrews

Windsurfer Gal Fridman, the only Israeli to win win gold at the Olympics, has told friends that he has changed his mind about selling his medal.

Earlier, the Olympic Committee of Israel asked Fridman to reconsider following reports that he plans to auction off his gold medal because he needs the money.

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"As much as the wish to sell the Olympic medal, the desire of all the athletes in the world, shows some kind of economic distress on the part of Fridman, we are certain there are other ways to deal with any difficulty that may exist."

The committee added that Gilad Lustig, its secretary general, "spoke this morning with Fridman and offered the organization's assistance, and asked him to consider other ways to find solutions for the problems he's facing, and not to sell the Olympic medal."

The committee's president, Yigal Carmi, added that "selling the Olympic medal is something that is not done."

On Monday, Fridman wrote on his Facebook page that 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.

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.”