The sad story of Mark Wells selling his 'Miracle on Ice' gold medal

4 Comments

Although there are occasions such as Reggie Bush and O.J. Simpson losing trophies for off-the-field issues, you’ll rarely see an athlete give up the symbol of their greatest achievements easily. Usually, it’s the exclamation point at the end of a very sad story.

Life hasn’t been easy for Mark Wells since he helped the U.S. Olympic hockey team win the 1980 gold medal during the famous “Miracle on Ice” run. A degenerative illness left him bedridden for decades, forcing him to sell off that medal to help pay for his expenses. The Boston Herald has more on the sad story and the impending sale.

His medal – the only one from the Miracle team to ever hit the resale market – is expected to go for more than $100,000 according to Phil Castinetti of SportsWorld in Saugus who is handling the sale.

“I’m thinking it will bring in six figures – probably around $125,000,” Castinetti told the Track. “It’s the only one that’s ever surfaced, and there’s only 20 of them.”

[snip]

After Wells sold the medal, it was purchased by a Connecticut collector who has turned it over to Castinetti to see what he can get for it.

BTW, this year marks the 30th anniversary of Team USA’s victory over the big bad Soviets and their subsequent win over Finland to grab the gold at Lake Placid. Hence, the sale.

That’s a sad, sad story as it’s pretty clear that Wells isn’t selling the gold medal to install a home theater system in his home or something (at least I assume it would be to pay off problematic medical bills and the like).

I’ve never completely understood the logic of collectors, especially if it’s in the area of a sweaty game-worn jersey or a baseball that just happened to leave Barry Bonds’ bat. That being said, I can understand the allure of a gold medal from the 80s Olympic run. For one thing, it’s remembered even by hockey-indifferent sports fans as one of the greatest American athletic moments ever. Beyond that, it’s a freaking gold medal. That’s much cooler than a random object coincidentally used by an athlete, at least in my opinion.

Anyway, it’s an unfortunate story, but hopefully whatever money Wells made will help him keep things together. The people he sold it to are likely to make even more cash.

(H/T to Puck Daddy.)