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Konrads finally gets his Olympic medals back

22 September 2009

Former Australian swim champion John Konrads has been reunited with his Olympic medals - 25 years after they were stolen.

An American sports memorabilia collector who bought a swag of Olympic medals on eBay, unknowingly uncovered the precious collection stolen from Konrads' home in 1984.

The 16 medals belonging to freestyle gold medallist Konrads were recovered by police from the Victorian regional city of Geelong in May.

Corio Detective Senior Constable Nick Uebergang said the medals were stolen from Konrads' inner Melbourne home in Brighton in 1984. They were bought by a Corio woman for about $200 from a garage sale in Brisbane about 10 years ago.

The medals, including a gold for the 1500m freestyle at the 1960 Rome Olympics, were returned to Konrads, 67, on Wednesday last week.

Snr Const Uebergang said Konrads alerted police to the existence of the medals after he was contacted by an American collector who bought the items on eBay and queried why the medals were being sold.

Police were able to recover the medals before they were shipped to America. Snr Const Uebergang said Konrads was "thrilled" to have the medals back.

"He believed he was never going to see (the medals) again," Snr Const Uebergang told AAP on Tuesday.

He said police had also recovered up to 200 items including war medals that were stolen from the Brighton area around the same time.

The International Olympic Committee created replicas of the stolen medals won by Konrads, which he later sold.

Konrads won gold in the 1500m freestyle event at 1960 Rome Olympics. He also took out bronze in the 400m and the 4x200m relay.

Konrads, who grew up in Sydney's Bankstown, set 26 individual records during his career. He later became the Australasian director of cosmetics company L'Oreal.

Michelle Draper
AAP

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