Global gymnastics icon Olga Korbut wants to set the record straight. She didn’t sell her five Olympic medals and other memorabilia because she was desperate for cash.
A native of Belarus who competed for the Soviet Union, Korbut won three golds and a silver as a 17-year-old at the 1972 Summer Games in Munich, then came back to win a gold and silver at Montreal in 1976.
Now 61 and living in Scottsdale, Arizona, Korbut consigned three of her gold and two silver medals as well as other Olympic items to Heritage Auctions’ Platinum Night sale which ended last weekend. Korbut said in a news release she was thrilled with the results of the auction, in which her 32 lots sold for a total of $333,504.
“From the very beginning, offering my Olympic medals and memorabilia was never about money – it was about sharing my Olympic experiences,” Korbut said from her home in Arizona. “I have a great life in Arizona and I could not be happier. I am not in any financial crisis as has been reported by some international media outlets. Millions of people have touched these medals and I wanted to ensure that millions more could enjoy seeing them.”
Korbut moved to the United States in 1991 and became a naturalized citizen in 2000. She conducts private gymnastics lessons and gives motivational speeches.