Sigfús Sigurðsson, a member of the Icelandic men’s handball team which won the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, admitted to pawning his medal in an interview with DV. As reported, the medal was spotted for sale at the Collector’s Emporium in early October.
“I did it for my parents,” he said in the interview, explaining that the sale was “an act of desperation,” which others may judge him for, but which the people closest to him would understand. He has had ongoing financial difficulties stemming from drug and alcohol problems—debts which piled up despite the fact that he has been sober for 15 years. Facing bankruptcy, with loan debt which stood to become the responsibility of his parents, Sigfús decided to sell his Olympic medal.
When the sale was discovered, the Icelandic Handball Association intervened. Sigfús’ silver medal is now in their custody.