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TURNING SILVER INTO GOLD By Mark Hollis

mark hollisAs I look back upon the Games of the 2016 Olympiad, there were so many stories of athletes challenging themselves to overcome adversity. Individuals such as Phelps, Bolt, and Biles became household heroes. Fans were excited to see the swim teams’, Michael Phelps, win more medals than any athlete in Olympic history. We witnessed track star, Usain Bolt, winning three gold medals in three separate sprinting events; a first in Olympic history. And of course, we all became enamored with the gymnast, Simone Biles, as she led the U.S. Gymnastic team to victory. There were also many Olympians whose hard work and competitive spirit was no less than those of the aforementioned, but went unnoticed as the games came to a close. One such individual was Piotr Malachowski, a discus thrower from Poland who went on to win the Silver Medal for his country.

Upon his return to his native Poland, Piotr was made aware of the plight of Olek Szmanski, a three-year-old boy who suffers from Retinal Cancer. The family was struggling to raise the necessary funds for his operation and had issued a public plea for help. Piotr wanting to contribute in any way that he could, choose to auction off his silver medal with the proceeds being donated to help Olek receive the care necessary to save his life. The medal was purchased by Dominika and Sebastien Kulczyk, heirs to the estate of their father, billionaire Jan Kulczyk. The amount of money paid for the medal was undisclosed, but reportedly it was enough to get the ball rolling for Olek.

So while the Olympic pundits harp on the stars of the 2016 Olympiad, they should know that one of them shines brighter than the others. Piotr Malachowski secured a heartfelt medal of humanity. As he so eloquently stated, “My silver medal is worth a lot more than a week ago. It’s worth the health of little Olek”.