A Russian tennis player vied for headlines with compatriot Daniil Medvedev this weekend, but not by shining at the U.S. Open in New York or any other tournament.
Two-time Olympic medalist Elena Vesnina has had her gold medals stolen, the gold she won in women’s doubles at the Rio 2016 Games and the silver in mixed doubles last month in Tokyo.
She has told reporters in Moscow that her sports awards were stolen along with her jewelry from her home in broad daylight when she had gone out to dinner with her husband and friends.
Vesnina said that she had not had time to put the medals in the safe because she had just shown them to the children at a tennis club. However, it would have been no use: the thieves broke into the safe and made off with her jewelry, according to Kommersant.ru.
Her fans remember the excitement with which Vesnina showed off her Olympic medals at a meeting with the press on her return from Tokyo.
She had returned to the court in early 2021 after a break in 2018 to have her daughter.
And she reappeared with a bang: she was runner-up at Roland Garros in mixed doubles and at Wimbledon in women’s doubles and didn’t stop until the Tokyo final paired with Aslan Karatsev before falling in a close match to fellow Russians Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Andrey Rublev.
Vesnina said she and her husband forgot to activate the alarm when leaving the home.The value of the stolen goods has not yet been calculated. Police in Moscow are conducting an intensive search.
Another Tokyo medalist is also suffering from the miscreants.
Three days before what happened to Vesnina, Argentine field field hockey player Sofia Maccari reported that her Olympic silver medal won this summer had been stolen in the province of Buenos Aires.
“I can’t explain the pain this means,” she posted on Twitter.
The athlete told the Argentine press that she was carrying the medal in her car to show it to a friend and at the moment she was parking she was assaulted by two men who took the car.
As of today, one of the perpetrators has already been arrested, but she still does not have her precious award in her hands.
“Please I still need your help. For all those who ask, the medal still hasn’t appeared. As the days go by it hurts a little more and the photos remind me how much it is worth, how happy I was at that moment and all the effort it cost. I hope that whoever has it can understand it,” the athlete wrote on her social networks.
Maccari, 37, has won two Olympic silver medals, London 2012 and Tokyo 2020, the latter after more than eight years away from the national team known worldwide as “Las Leonas”.
It has been a season in which the voices of Olympic medalists have been heard on more than one occasion.
In July, British boxer James DeGale revealed that the Olympic gold medal he won at the 2008 Beijing Games and his MBE were stolen from his parents’ home just as the final of the European Football Championship was being held in London.
MBE stands for Member of the Order of the British Empire, a distinction awarded to its citizens for having a positive impact on society.
DeGale, a two-time professional super middleweight champion in one of the boxing bodies, said at the time that the stolen “It’s worth nothing to anyone but me and it’s two achievements I value from my boxing career. I’m devastated.”
In early 2021 thieves broke into the home of soccer player Jorge Enriquez, in Guadalajara, and among the valuables stole the Olympic gold medal he won with the Mexican National Team in London 2012.
“Sad morning, after going out with my family for an hour and returning home. To realize that your house has been turned upside down and things with monetary value, but with much more sentimental value, have been stolen is painful. Today I thank God that my family is fine,” the soccer player wrote on Twitter.
“Among those things, an Olympic gold medal that surely some collector will buy and show off in their showcases. But I know that the value is not in the medal, but in the memories lived.”
Around the same time, Brazilian gymnast Arthur Nory, who won a bronze medal in the floor event at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, was recovering more than 30 international medals that had been stolen in a robbery at his residence in Sao Paulo.
The thieves themselves were in charge of returning the sports booty after an anonymous call to the police, when they found out who the thieves were.