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World champion swimmer melts his gold medal for children with cancer

Romania's David Popovici celebrates in the podium of the Men's 100m Freestyle at the 8th FINA World Junior Swimming Championship in Lima


Cerith Gardiner - published on 05/21/23

David Popovici is using the rewards of his talent to help children who've battled cancer.

If you’ve ever watched a sports awards ceremony, you’ll notice the emotional response of those receiving their hard-earned medals. So when an athlete decides to donate their medal for a worthy cause, it’s not only inspiring, but it also shines a light on the cause the champion is in fact championing.

This was the case recently with the Romanian world champion swimmer, David Popovici. The 18-year-old, who specializes in freestyle, currently holds the world record for the long course 100-metre freestyle. And in 2022, he won two gold medals for the men’s 100- and 200-meter freestyle event.

But, the swimmer decided this year to melt one of his precious medals to help children who’ve been battling cancer.

In a video from the Romanian medical laboratory company MedLife, you can see the dramatic moment when the ribbon is cut off the medal, and it is placed in a smelting pot.

The gold from that one medal was used to make 100 small gold ribbons — the symbol that represents the battle of childhood cancer — and then they were handed out to children who’ve overcome their battle with cancer. (Although the video is in Popovici’s native Romanian, it’s easy to see the delight on the youngster’s faces after being given their golden ribbon.)

As Popovici shared in a post on Instagram: “Hope is immune to cancer.” And when that hope is shared by a world champion, it seems even more powerful.

At such a young age, Popovici has already achieved an impressive amount of records in world swimming championships. Last year he actually broke the world record 100-meter free for the first time in 13 years, which made him the youngest male swimmer to smash an individual world record since the well-known champion Michael Phelps, according to NBC Sports.

Hopefully Popovici, who is his country’s youngest man to win a world title, will continue to break records while lending much-needed support to worthy causes.

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