Australian athletics star Tatiana Grigorieva is “staggered” by the theft of her entire sporting medal collection.
The pole vaulter’s Olympic, Commonwealth and world championship medals were among the “irreplaceable sentimental items” stored in a safe stolen from business premises at Tingalpa in Brisbane.
Thieves also took an Australian flag bearing autographs of the entire Australian 2000 Sydney Olympic team.
The premises, which were owned by friends of the athlete and model and protected by security cameras, were broken into on July 18.
The Sydney Olympic silver medallist’s manager, Rick Carter, said the 30-year-old former Russian, who is currently competing in Europe, was “staggered” by the theft.
“It’s every medal and award effectively that she’s picked up since she started pole vaulting in 1997,” he said.
“She would describe it as her life in a box.”
“She’s very upset … staggered. She’s in disbelief that it could have happened.”
Mr Carter said the medal collection was not believed to be the target of the break-in, in which computer equipment and petty cash was also taken.
“Someone’s broken in there looking for whatever they were looking for and has decided to take the safe,” he said.
“And if they’ve got the safe open they would have found something in there they weren’t quite looking for.
“It’s totally unrelated. Less than a handful of people knew they (the medals) were there.”
Mr Carter said Gold Coast-based Grigorieva had formerly kept her medals in a bank.
“Whenever she goes out to schools she likes to show the medals to the kids so she decided she’d keep them where it was easier to come and go a bit,” he said.
The 2002 Commonwealth champion and 1999 world championship bronze medallist has appealed to anyone knowing the whereabouts of the medals, or having knowledge of the theft, to contact police.
“Her management is prepared to act as intermediaries in any proposed return of the items,” a police spokesman said.
Currently ranked 14th in the world, Grigorieva has been in top form in Europe and is due to compete in Stockholm tomorrow.
Earlier this month, at a Golden League meet in Paris, she recorded a season’s best of 4.51m to finish fifth behind Russian world record holder Yelena Isinbayeva.
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