(AFP) – Mar 30, 2012
KIEV — Ukraine's world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko on Friday raised $1 million for charity by auctioning off his 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games gold medal before quickly gaining it back.
The fund for disaffected Ukrainian children run by the 35-year-old defender of four titles and his older brother Vitali said it raised more than $1.5 million dollars (1.1 million euros) at the Kiev event.
The medal Wladimir won against Tonga's Paea Wolfgramm in Atlanta was claimed by an unknown bidder before being returned.
"Immediately after the sale, the buyer's representative announced his wish to leave the Olympic medal in the Klitschko family," the brothers' charity foundation said in a statement.
Other items purchased at the auction included a wristwatch embedded with 412 diamonds that were shaped to look like the imprint of Vitali Klitschko's thumb.
The Klitschko family is one of the most celebrated in the ex-Soviet republic and has recently taken a more active role in opposition politics.
Vitali Klitschko heads the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR, meaning "punch" or "strike" in Ukrainian) party and has twice run for Kiev mayor.
The Klitschkos are fierce critics of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and supporters of the jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.
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