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Polish discus thrower auctions his Rio Olympics medal to help 3-year-old boy with eye cancer

Polish discus thrower auctions his Rio Olympics medal to help 3-year-old boy with eye cancer
Silver medalist Piotr Malachowski of Poland poses during the medal ceremony for the men's discus throw during the Rio Olympic Games on Aug. 13. (Sergei Ilnitsky / European Pressphoto Agency)

The Olympic spirit is still alive in Polish discus thrower Piotr Malachowski.

The 33-year-old Rio Games silver medalist has sold his medal to help cover the cost of surgery for 3-year-old Olek Szymanski, who is suffering from a rare eye cancer called retinoblastoma.

Immediately after returning from Rio, Malachowski took to his Facebook page and posted a photo of Szymanski with a message announcing his intention to auction off the medal. He attempted to raise about $84,000 toward the $130,000 needed for the surgery. One-third of the cost was already raised by the Polish charity foundation Siepomaga.

“Winning an Olympic medal is for the athlete to meet life’s dreams. Of course, this is the most precious gold,” he wrote. “I did everything in my power to get it. Unfortunately this time did not succeed. However, fate gave me a chance to increase the value of my ‘silver.’”

According to ESPN, bidding for the medal was at $19,000 on Tuesday when it was pulled down. Malachowski shared news on his Facebook page that Polish billionaire siblings Dominic and Sebastian Kulczyk “declared their willingness to buy” his silver medal, which covered the remaining cost of the surgery.

“We were able to show that together we can do wonders,” he wrote. “My silver medal today is worth a lot more than a week ago.”

eduardo.gonzalez@latimes.com

Twitter: @edmgonzalez

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