A former Olympic whitewater canoe racer originally from Maryland says he's not interested in anybody being punished for the crime. He just wants his stolen gold medal back.
Joe Jacobi, who went to Churchill High School in Potomac, won gold in the canoe slalom at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. He was part of the first U.S. team to win the race. The team was also the first to train on the Dickerson Whitewater Course built in 1991.
Monday evening, he and his wife, had dinner in Atlanta, two hours south of their home, with their 15-year-old daughter before taking her to the airport. She's a competitive athlete who is spending the first half of the summer out west kayaking rivers, Jacobi said.
When they left the restaurant, they noticed broken glass, he said. Someone had broken into their car and taken his computer bag, where he kept his gold medal, which he takes with him everywhere he goes.
"I made the decision 24 years ago that having the gold medal doesn't do any good for me in a safety deposit box," Jacobi said. "The Olympics are meant to be shared, and this medal is meant to be shared, and I take it with me wherever I go so that people have that opportunity to touch it and hold it."
He estimates tens of thousands of people have held the medal over the years, and he wants whoever is holding it now to return it so the tradition can continue.
"The medal doesn't define me," he said. "We define it."
His computer bag, computer, passport and books have been recovered, but the medal remains missing.
"Just put it in the mail, send it to the Nantahala Outdoor Center and no questions asked," he said.
For details on the reward and how to return the medal, visit StolenGoldMedal.com.