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News Round-Up: Konrads Gets Medals Back

Sep 22, 2009  - Craig Lord

Australia: As a 1,500m free Olympic champion - and one coached by Don Talbot, you might expect John Konrads, ironman of Rome 1960, to be good at playing the long game, so when his Olympic medals were stolen back in 1985 he never gave up hope that one day the hard-earned prizes might be returned. As it turns out, not only have the medals turned up but it was Konrads himself who did the necessary detective work. Konrads' medals were taken in a burglary at his home in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton in 1985 but Victoria Police traced them to a woman at Corio, west of Melbourne after the 1960 Olympic champ noticed someone trying to sell them online. The women says that  she bought the medals at a garage sale 10 years ago, and as such there have been no charges, the culprit in the theft lost somewhere down a line of those who have handled the medals in the intervening years. Konrads won gold in the 1,500m free and bronze in the 400m free and as a member of the Aussie 4x200m freestyle in Rome. 

Britain: Lewis Gordon Pugh is at it again. Having proved himself able to withstand chillier waters than most on the planet who like their swimming taken with ice, he is now heading to a lake on the Khumbu Glacier, 17,000ft above sea level in the Himalayas. Next April the Brit will attempt a 1km swim to add to his shivering ambitions and is expected to spend about 20mins in the water in briefs,, cap and goggles. Pugh's mission: to highlight the devastating effects of global warming: the Himalayan glaciers provide water to more than 1.3bn people and are receding faster than in any part of the world. Some forecasts suggest that the glaciers may be gone within 25 years. Pugh told the media: "These glaciers are not just ice. They are a lifeline - they provide water to a fifth of the world's population. It's essential that politicians put aside their differences and agree a bold strategy to reduce climate change to below current levels when they meet in Copenhagen." Known as the "human polar bear" Pugh is trying to raise awareness of the impact of climate change ahead of the Copenhagen conference in December, where campaigners hope a replacement for the Kyoto protocol will be agreed. He will attend Bill Clinton's Global Initiative in New York. In 2007 Pugh swam across an open patch of sea at the North Pole to bring attention to the melting of the Arctic Sea ice. To support Pugh's campaign visit www.polardefenseproject.org