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Vitaliy FRIDZON (Russia). Argentina v Russia. 2012 Olympic Games: Tournament for Men, Finals. 12 August 2012

MOSCOW (Olympics) - Vitaly Fridzon was basking in the glow of finishing third at the Olympics with Russia when less than two weeks later he had his bronze medal stolen from his home.

The Russian Basketball Federation (RBF) and his club side BC Khimki are doing their best to make sure that Fridzon, a sharpshooter who was vital to the team's big accomplishment in London, brings some resolution to his nightmare.

A statement by the RBF said: "The Russian Basketball Federation, on behalf of the entire basketball community, is asking anyone who has any information about the location or the identity of the perpetrators to report it to the police."

RBF President Alexander Krasnenkov is keeping his fingers crossed that there will be a positive outcome.

"I know how hard Vitaly worked for his medal," he said, "how much effort has been spent.

"We're in contact with the Russian Olympic Committee seeking advice on what we can do in this situation.

"Then it will come down to the International Olympic Committee.

"It may agree to make a copy.

"On the other hand, we hope very much, of course, the bodies of internal affairs will do everything possible to have Fridzon's medal returned."

At the time of the theft, which took place at his home just outside of Moscow, Fridzon expressed his dismay, saying: "This award is the most precious for me and I very much hope that it will be returned."

BC Khimki, the team that Fridzon helped capture the Eurocup medal last year, put a statement online that said: “We, the basketball club Khimki and fans of the team, appeal to the conscience of the kidnappers. Return the Olympic medal to Vitaly! This award has no price, it is the result of years of work incredible athlete. For you, an Olympic medal - only the object of gain, and for Vitaly - the memory of a lifetime.”

Russia would not have made it to London without Fridzon because he was their best outside shooter at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT), making 11 of 14 (78.6%) of his shots from behind the arc. He averaged 14.5 points in Caracas, Venezuela.

In London, his biggest moment came at the end of the Preliminary Round game against Brazil, when coach David Blatt drew up a play for Fridzon to attempt a three-pointer from the left corner against Brazil.

Fridzon buried the shot to give the Russians victory and secure first place in the group.

In winning the bronze medal, he finished with 19 points.

He ended up shooting an impressive 10 of 22 (45.5%) from long range and averaged 11.5 points per contest in London.

Fridzon will be at the heart of Russia's attack next summer at the EuroBasket in Slovenia when they attempt to qualify for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.


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