25-year-old Maria Andrejczyk became one of the heroines of the Polish national team at the recent Olympic Games in Tokyo. After going through numerous surgeries and difficult rehabilitation, she won a silver medal in javelin throw, which she immediately handed over to an auction to save a child with heart disease. We are going to discover the story of Maria Andrejczyk in today’s article.
The Story of Maria Andrejczyk: Injuries, Tumor, Successful Operation
Five years earlier in Rio de Janeiro, when she was only twenty, she fell short of a medal by some two centimeters. When throwing over 60 meters, it’s like losing by the thickness of a hair. The most famous athletes praised her, calling her an outstanding talent. But then hard times came for Andreychik. Fighting injuries, shoulder surgery (and for a javelin thrower this is key), surgery to remove a benign bone tumor (osteoma), difficult recovery. Doctors and physiotherapists have become a familiar environment for her. Instead of going to competitions, she mostly went to rehab.
At the next Games, Andrejczyk had to fight for medals, but before the future of her further sport, a big question mark appeared: will she return at all? At the time when the Olympic Games were originally planned, her return to the sport had just begun. Andrejczyk again took part in the competition. At international competitions in Chorzów, she threw a javelin 65 meters. This result gave hope that the average Polish fan would hear more about her. And so it happened: in recent months, you could hear about her more than once. And not only thanks to her achievements at the athletics stadium.
Everything About Maria Andrejczyk: A Medal Paid for by Suffering
Maybe her throws in Tokyo weren’t brilliant. She was surprised that her rivals did not get ahead of her. Still, Maria Andrejczyk, throwing a javelin at 64.61 meters, won the silver medal. On the one hand, this is a great achievement, something extraordinary after all these twists and turns. On the other hand … she dreamed of more. Let’s face it – she wanted gold.
“I was not myself, I was already nervous during the warm-up. My shoulder did the best it could after so many operations. I’m proud of myself. Time to tidy up my health, I want more than this silver.”
She was counting on a gold medal because there were prerequisites for this. In May, a little over two months before the Tokyo Games, during the European Cup in Split, she sent the javelin to a distance of 71.4 meters. This was the third result in the history of the discipline, the best in the last decade and, of course, the best in her career. At the first moment, she could not believe that she had just had such a success.
After long months of testing, going to doctors, after moments of doubt, she returned to the world elite, returned to the level that other athletes and athletics experts predicted for her. When the competitions in Tokyo came to an end and she already knew that she would probably return to Poland with a medal, she burst into tears.
“I didn’t expect the silver road to be so difficult. It was hard, there was pain and fear, moments of doubt, but there were wonderful people along the way. I made friends, whom I am grateful to, without them, I would not be here. I’m angry that I couldn’t do more.”
The Story of Maria Andrejczyk: Silver Medal, Heart of Gold
She has a silver medal, and she will stay with her. Although there was no certainty of this: Andrejczyk herself had decided … to give it up. She put up the most valuable trophy of her career for a charity auction. And she did it not for the first time. The athlete handed over the medal won in Split to 13-month-old Antos for treatment. The boy required heart surgery in Boston. She didn’t even think about it. After the Games, she decided to help another child. This time the Olympic medal went to the auction.
“I didn’t think long about it. Milošek, like our Antos, has a serious heart defect and needs an operation. He also has support from heaven, from Kubus, a boy whom they did not manage to save, but wonderful people decided to transfer his funds to Miloshek. And I also want to help in the same way. It is for him that I am auctioning my Olympic silver medal.”
The starting price for the medal was 200 thousand zlotys (43.8 thousand euros). But the fundraising did not last long – in fact, it did not have time to start. And she did not have to give the medal, because the trade network Żabka, (Frog) – a popular chain of small grocery stores that won the auction, decided that the award would remain with the athlete.
Being the Third Case in the History of Polish Sports
The online sportsbook news in Poland states that Andrejczyk is already a historical figure for Polish athletics and sports in general. If in hammer throw the Poles dominate and in the shot put and discus throw they also achieved considerable success, then the Olympic podium in javelin throw is a rarity for Polish sports. In 1956, Janusz Sidlo won a silver medal, and even earlier, in 1936, Maria Kwaśniewska, known for the fact that, to the remark about her short stature, she replied to Adolf Hitler that he could not be called tall either.
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And now, after such a long break, the Polish javelin thrower once again rose to the pedestal. Maria Andreichik is a great athlete, in and out of the stadium. Her story has almost everything: a medal lost by two centimeters, high hopes, injuries, a tumor, a successful operation, a return, a historic throw, a medal, helping children. And, perhaps, the most beautiful ending of this story is the medal for which she worked so hard, which cost her so much suffering and sacrifice, and which she gave for the treatment of a sick child, eventually returned to her. So the was the incredible story of Maria Andrejczyk. What else can we say?