By David Beasley
ATLANTA (Reuters) – A 1992 Olympic gold medal stolen from champion canoeist Joe Jacobi’s car earlier this month in Atlanta was found by a 6-year-old girl and returned to him, he said on Monday.
The girl spotted the medal in a wooded area while on a walk with her family on Saturday. The family contacted Jacobi through a website he established after the medal he won in the two-man canoe slalom event in Barcelona, Spain, was stolen from a nearby restaurant parking lot.
The medal was missing its base when found, Jacobi said in a phone interview, but appeared mostly intact.
Jacobi, 46, displays the medal in speaking events and had it with him for a television appearance in Atlanta the next day.
He was inside a restaurant when three men in a Volkswagen Passat drove up and broke car windows in the parking lot, Atlanta police said. Jacobi, who lives in Tennessee, launched a social media campaign with his wife to recover the medal.
Although the medal could possibly be restored to its original state, Jacobi said he may keep it the way it is as a reminder of the story behind its loss and recovery.
“It’s pretty cool just as it is,” he said in a phone interview. “This is pretty awesome.”
(Editing by Letitia Stein and Peter Cooney)