CLOSING NOTES

Sports

Auctioning the shirts off Olympians’ backs

JAMES DEACON January 20 2003
CLOSING NOTES

Sports

Auctioning the shirts off Olympians’ backs

JAMES DEACON January 20 2003

Sports

Auctioning the shirts off Olympians’ backs

As sports collecting goes, this is once-in-alifetime stuff. Since Jan. 6, Special Olympics Canada has been taking sealed bids at its Toronto offices for a complete set of jerseys worn at the 2002 Winter Games by both the women’s and men’s gold-medal hockey teams. The auction closes on Feb. 21, the first anniversary of the women’s triumph, and the winner will be announced on Feb. 24, a year after the men’s victory. The 43 jerseys are being sold as a package, and budget-conscious buyers need not apply. Jared Weiss, vice-president of Steiner Sports Marketing in New Rochelle, N. Y., calls the collection “an unbelievable collectible,” and says it could sell for far more than its reserve bid of $100,000. “Like anything else,” Weiss says, “it comes down to

Vicky Sunohara (above) and Paul Kariya model the jerseys up for sale

THEDETAILS

Bids can be sent to:

Team Canada 2002 c/o Special Olympics Canada,

60 St. Clair Ave. East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ont. M4T 1N5

finding the person who really wants it.” It’s also a windfall for an organization devoted to giving people with mental disabilities better access to sports. “This is the biggest single corporate gift we’ve ever received,” says SOC president Jim Jordan. The collectibles were available because Nike Hockey had made four sets of Olympic jerseys for each team. After the Games, sets were given to the players, the Canadian Hockey Association, the Hockey Hall of Fame and Nike. The company initially planned to donate its jerseys, one by one, for use at charitable fundraisers. But Nike’s John Pickett and TSN exec Rick BriggsJude suggested giving the collection to SOC in honour of former Canadian Olympic Committee head Jim Thompson, who died last summer. “Jim was a huge supporter of Special Olympics,” Picket says, “so it just

seemed right.”

JAMES DEACON