March 9th, 2015

Paralympic swimmer Benoit Huot received new medals in a special ceremony Monday morning, to replace most of the originals that were stolen in a break-in at his Montreal-area home back in July.  

The stolen medals included two of Huot's 19 Paralympic medals, a bronze from the 2008 Games in Beijing and a gold from the 2000 Games in Sydney. Also stolen were three Commonwealth Games medals — a gold, a silver and a bronze. Two Parapan Am medals were also stolen, but are not being replaced.

Paralympic champion wheelchair racer Chantal Peticlerc presented Huot with the new medals this morning, alongside students from the Marie Enfant Rehabilitation Centre, in at a ceremony at Montreal's École Joseph Charbonneau.

"These medals belong to our whole country," said Huot. "That's what I feel & that's what makes me most proud."

Huot had launched a public appeal to try to retrieve the stolen medals, but when they were not returned, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Commonwealth Games Canada decided to have new ones manufactured.

Huot Medals

Five of Huot's seven stolen medals were replaced by the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Commonwealth Games Canada. (Douglas Gelevan / CBC)


In a statement, Canadian Paralympic Committee president Gaétan Tardif wrote that the reproductions are meant to "symbolize the work, fulfillment, integrity, confidence as well as the pursuit of excellence of Paralympic athletes." 

"We know those medals can never replace the originals," said Tardif. "This unfortunate episode showed how important medals are for athletes. It’s an honour to present them to Benoit today.”

Source : CBC