2022 FALL PREMIER AUCTION

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Competitive canoe racing goes back to 1869 in Great Britain. The first international governing body was formed in 1924 in Denmark. Canoe Sprint made its Olympic debut at the 1936 Berlin Games and has been part of the official Summer Olympics program ever since. Contested by individuals or teams of up to four paddlers in two boat types (canoe or kayak), races take place on flatwater courses covering four distances from 200 to 5000 meters. Canoers compete in a striding position with one knee on deck and the other foot forward using a single-blade paddle on their preferred side. (Kayakers compete in the seated position using double-bladed paddles.) Each discipline is categorized by boat type, competitors per boat, and distance. Hence, Men’s C-1 200m is the men’s individual 200-meter canoe sprint. And from 2006 to 2016, no athlete dominated this event like Yuriy [Iurii] Cheban of Ukraine.

After making the semifinals at the 2004 Athens Olympics as an 18-year-old, Cheban took silver at the 2006 World Championships before winning gold at the 2007 Worlds. He then took bronze in the C-1 500m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics at the age of 20. Yuriy won two more medals at the 2010 Worlds, setting up a storied run in the C-1 200m event. At the 2012 Summer Games in London, Cheban led the finals wire-to-wire to win gold in a time of 42.29 seconds. Fittingly, the Ukrainian champ defeated Russian-born Jevgenij Shuklin of Lithuania (later stripped of his silver due to doping) and Ivan Shtyl’ of Russia. After winning gold at the 2014 Worlds, Yuriy repeated as Olympic champion at the 2016 Rio Games with a blistering time of 39.28 seconds, setting a new Olympic record in the process. Cheban said of the victories: "It was one of the best moments of my life that can be compared only with the birth of my child. This Olympic finish left a great memory forever in world history and in the hearts of Ukraine (citizens)."

In this auction, we have the privilege of offering all three of Yuriy Cheban’s Olympic winner’s medals to the market for a very worthy cause. Presented here is his 2016 Rio first place gold medal. (See lot 5 for his 2012 London gold and lot 444 for his 2008 Beijing bronze.) It comes directly from Mr. Cheban who has decided to auction his most prized possessions and valiantly donate all proceeds to Ukraine’s Olympic Circle charity, which directly funds his home country’s defense and recovery efforts. Rarely do winner’s medals, particularly golds, from such recent Olympics hit the auction block so soon after being awarded. This is the first gold from the 2016 Summer Games we have ever handled and, to our knowledge, just the third offered publicly. (The most recent example, from an athlete whose name was never revealed, sold in Jan. '20 for $67,000!)

2016 Rio Olympics winners’ medals are huge with a gorgeous design and struck by the Brazilian Mint. The front depicts stylized laurel leaves (ancient Greek symbol of victory) surrounding the 2016 Rio Games logo. The reverse shows Nike, Greek goddess of victory, over Panathenaic Stadium with the Acropolis in the background and “XXX Olympiad Rio 2016” above. The name of the event “CANOE SPRINT | Men’s Canoe Single (C1) 200m” is etched along the bottom edge. Measuring 85 mm in diameter and 7 mm thick, the medal (made of gold-plated gilt silver) is attached to a long green ribbon with “Rio 2016” in white. Altogether with the ribbon it weighs a hefty 525 grams (1.14 lbs.). This was the first Olympics held in South America and sustainability was a major theme. The gold plating was mercury-free and ribbons were composed of 50% recycled plastic bottles. Includes is its uniquely shaped wooden case with a sliding cover that is loose and slightly damaged, but easily repairable. (These presentation cases alone go for $500.) The medal has some dings but is otherwise in nice shape overall and still presents wonderfully.

Comes with a letter of provenance from Mr. Yuriy Cheban, canoe sprint legend!

About Olympic Circle: Charitable foundation “Olympic circle” is an organization created by sportsmen to help Mykolaiv Mykolaiv (city in southern Ukraine on Black Sea coast) fight Russian occupants. We have three months of experience working during this war. Now we have united the efforts of volunteers in “Olympic circle” because, being sportsmen, we understand that only teamwork will be successful. We are people of Mykolaiv who love their city. Every morning we wake up with the same thought as you – when will the war end? Then we do the same as any Ukrainian – we fight for Victory! https://olympiccircle.netlify.app/#goal

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