Olympian sells Rio medal to help boy with cancer
Polish discus thrower Piotr Malachowski auctions his silver medal to fund specialist treatment
A Rio 2016 silver medallist is being hailed as the true embodiment of Olympic spirit after selling off his newly minted medal to fund specialist treatment for a boy with a rare form of cancer.
Piotr Malachowski took second place in the discus to become one of 11 Polish Olympians to bag a medal in Rio. It was his second silver after netting one in Beijing in 2008.
Writing on Facebook after the Games, the 33-year-old athlete, who is the current world and European discus champion, said he had done "everything in [his] power" to bring home the gold.
"But fate gave me a chance to increase the value of my silver," he added.
The Olympian told his followers how he had been contacted by the mother of three-year-old Olek Szymanski, who has spent almost two years battling retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer that affects young children.
As a result, Malachowski said, he was auctioning off his medal to help pay for Olek and his family to travel to New York and receive specialist treatment not currently available in Poland.
He hoped to raise around $84,000 (£64,000) from the sale to top up previous donations and send the little boy to New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre, which offers "state-of-the-art care with access to novel therapies and clinical trials not available anywhere else in the country."
"In Rio I fought for the gold," he wrote. "Today I appeal to everyone - let's fight together about something that is even more precious - the health of this fantastic boy."
It wasn't long before Malachowski returned to Facebook to say he had successfully found a buyer for the medal and that all the proceeds would go towards Olek's treatment.
The auction was won by Poland's billionaire siblings Dominika and Sebastian Kulczyk, who "declared their willingness to buy my silver medal for an amount which enables us to meet the goal set", wrote the Malachowski.
"My silver medal today is worth much more than a week ago," he added.
News of the generous gesture spread quickly, with people around the world applauding his compassion. "This is the real Olympic spirit. Bravo!" wrote one admirer, while another added: "You have a true heart of gold."