Sledge hockey Paralympian Paul Rosen has been reunited with his prized gold medal after it was stolen at a charity event a week ago but he isn't about to stop displaying it in public.
"I'm not going to stop showing it. The medal is Canada's medal. That's what it's all about -- letting people see it," Mr. Rosen said in an interview yesterday.
Mr. Rosen's goalkeeping helped Canada win at the Paralympic Games in Turin, Italy, last year, beating Norway 3-0 in the final.
He was devastated when the medal -- on the table in front of him during an autograph-signing session at a fundraiser for spinal-cord research in Toronto's Downsview Park -- disappeared Jan. 13.
"I turned around to put some equipment in my bag and it was gone," said Mr. Rosen, a long-time hockey player who lost his right leg in 1999 when an infection developed as a result of an on-ice multiple fracture years before.
After days of fretting during which he says he started to "lose faith in humanity," his medal showed up at a Canada Post mail-sorting centre in north Toronto on Friday.
The precious piece of hardware was returned to Mr. Rosen, 46, at a press event at Toronto Police 32 Division in North York on Saturday.
Mr. Rosen credits Hockey Night in Canada's Don Cherry for helping get it back. On Coach's Corner on the day of the incident, Mr. Cherry urged the thief to drop the medal in a mailbox and said he'd be "a rat" if he failed to do so.
"His [Don Cherry's]rant on Coach's Corner probably made whoever took it feel they had gone too far," he said.
The theft also made headlines on television, radio and in newspapers.
Staff Detective Dave Godfrey of 32 Division said yesterday that an investigation into the theft continues even though the stolen property has been returned.
He said the medal -- which contains eight ounces of gold and is worth about $6,000 -- was probably dropped in a mailbox somewhere around Downsview Park.
"I'm sure all the media attention made the big difference in having it returned," he said.
Mr. Rosen -- a motivational speaker who is looking forward to repeating the gold medal win at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver -- said he was heartened by the outpouring of public support he received after his medal was stolen.
"I got e-mails from all over North America," he said. "A lot of people wrote that they thought the [unknown suspect]was fairly lower than life to do something like this."
He said he holds no grudge against whoever did the deed.
"The least I can do is forgive this guy. He gave it back, he did the right thing. It's time to move on."
When he got the medal back on Saturday, Mr. Rosen bit down on it just as he did after winning it in Turin last year.