A six-year-old Georgia girl has found the main portion of a 1992 Olympic gold medal that was stolen from an American canoeist’s car earlier this month.
Wayne Smith told CBS46 that his daughter, Chloe, found the medal on the side of a road last week near their Atlanta home. Initially mistaking it for trash, Smith took a closer look at the disc and realized it belonged to Joe Jacobi.
“When she picked it up, it just wowed me,” said Smith. “Because I had to look at it for about 20 minutes before it sunk in.”
Smith says he had heard about Jacobi’s two-man canoe slalom medal being stolen from his car in an Atlanta restaurant parking lot June 6.
Shortly after his medal went missing, Jacobi launched the website StolenMedal.com with the hopes of finding it.
The Olympian and former head of USA Canoe/Kayak said he carries his medal with him to inspire others.
“I made a decision 24 years ago that having an Olympic gold medal doesn’t do any good for me in a safety deposit box,” Jacobi said in an interview with NBC. “The Olympics are meant to be shared. This medal is meant to be shared. I take it with me wherever I go so that people have that opportunity to touch it and hold it.”
Smith told CBS46 reporter Natalie Rubino that he watched Jacobi win the medal in 1992 and is pleased it was his daughter who found it.
“It’s just good to be a part of history,” he said.
Jacobi gave Chloe a $500 reward and her father some Olympic memorabilia to thank her for finding the medal. Jacobi is still missing the medal’s silver metallic base and the ribbon it was attached to.
— With files from the Associated Press