Olympian reunited with stolen medal

Published Thursday, 21 March 2013
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A champion Olympic boxer from Belfast says he is over the moon to be reunited with his silver medal.

Olympian reunited with stolen medal
Paul Clark returns John McNally's silver boxing medal to its rightful owner. (© Pacemaker)

John McNally became the first ever Irish boxer to win an Olympic medal when he took home the silver at 1952 Helsinki Summer games.

But last weekend, the 80-year-old realised his precious award was gone, and after appeals went out on U105 and UTV, the medal was returned anonymously.

John usually keeps the medal hidden, but when he went to retrieve it last Friday night to display it at a sporting function, the award could not be found.

On Saturday, the box turned up in the room of the south Belfast residential home where John lives, but it was empty.

"It's the most peculiar thing," he said.

"After all these years, it was never out of my sight except when it was hidden away."

He made an emotional appeal to UTV and U105, and the medal was handed in at Havelock House on Thursday.

And there was an emotional reunion for the prize boxer and his cherished award.

"I'm over the moon," he said, "I felt like crying when I got the call to say it had been handed in."

"It's great news."

John said he was not expecting to get his medal back so quickly, adding that he will never let it out of his sight again.

He regularly shows the medals to young people, hopeful it will spur them on to personal success.

"I do a lot of guest shows about the country and I can't go without that," he explained.

"There's not much point in bringing me unless you've got the medal to show them."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Mary in Belfast wrote (677 days ago):
I think it's all good and well people saying about care hones and care staff and all the bad that they do when on earth do people recognise the goodness that they do. Yrs this man appears good and well on camera, none if us know him of camera. Where is the man who handed it back unto utv, surely for the accusation of an Olympic medal being stolen it needs to be investigated. This care home seems to be the only place getting bad publicity. Why not thank or name and shame who had the medal!!!! This is a disgrace especially the narrow minded uneducated opinions of people and care homes. Don't label any care home or any carer unless all facts are given
sean in belfast wrote (677 days ago):
Any one else think UTV had it all along??? My guess is it was Frank Mitchell or thon Julian character! Good to see it back though...ps. I hope I look as good as Mr Mc Nally when i'm 80.
bob in ards wrote (677 days ago):
glad he got his medal back, happy easter john.
robert hills in belfast wrote (677 days ago):
Its nice hear that john got his medal back just goes to show who ever returned it has a heart
anne in Toronto wrote (677 days ago):
He's a great man for 80!
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