(photo credit: Courtesy)
NEW YORK – The mystery buyer of Olympic bronze medalist Yarden Gerbi’s name patch from the Rio Olympics is the Los Angeles-based Jewish philanthropist Shlomo Rechnitz, who has donated to many causes including supporting the Mir Yeshiva, Chabad centers and helping rebuild Orthodox day schools after Hurricane Sandy.
Rechnitz, 45, is also known for buying 400 US soldiers meals during a stop-over in an airport in Shannon, Ireland, and more recently for purchasing 18,000 Powerball lottery tickets for all of his employees.
When the judoka auctioned off her name patch for $52,100, she said she’d use the money to buy medical equipment for Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center.
In total, 87 bids were placed by 22 bidders for the athlete’s name patch with an autographed dedication.
With a few hours till the auction’s end on August 29 and the highest bid standing at $13,200, the winning bid came in at $52,100. The bidder’s identity had been concealed until now.
“Everyone must learn from Yarden how to use their skills to help people in need,” Rechnitz said.
Gerbi’s bronze medal in the women’s 63 kg. Judo event at the Rio de Janeiro games made her the second Israeli woman to win an Olympic medal, after judoka Yael Arad won a Silver in Barcelona in 1992.