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Where is Duncan Armstrong’s Olympic Gold Medal?

Australian Olympic gold medal winning swimmer Duncan Armstrong has revealed the fascinating stories behind his victory at the 1988 Seoul Games and the sad aftermath.

Speaking to David Morrow and Mat Thompson as part of their Heroes segment on Macquarie Sports Radio he outlined the enthusiasm that his coach and mentor Laurie Lawrence had even from a young age – especially an enthusiasm for sit ups.

“Laurie was a sicko for sit ups. Laurie would say drop and give me 500. Any day, any time. So you were doing 1000 sit ups a day a lot of the time during your really really tough work stuff just to get your core right”, Armstrong said.

“We used to be a sit up cult. We used to do sit ups and sit ups and sit ups morning, noon and night.

“At the movie cinemas and Laurie would go to the counter and get a sticker and turn around and go, “OK 500 push ups and you win a sticker let’s go”.

“And so sixty kids would hit the carpet at the Birch Carroll and Coyle. No one could get a ticket because there’s sixty kids doing 500 sit ups – and it’s all for a sticker.

“And Laurie would say things like ‘this is your chance for victory. This sticker is your gold medal today. What are you going to do? Are you going to accept the opportunity? The door is open. Will you take the victory?’.

“He used to ring me at four o’clock in the morning and say, ‘Everybody’s asleep. This is your opportunity. Get your running shoes on and run to the pool. Be here for five.’

“It was the science of encouragement, the science of enthusiasm.

“Laurie is a brilliant coach. Technically very smart. Scientifically cutting edge. But what he really did better than any coach I came across was sell the dream with enthusiasm and purpose. And that’s why he had such a great winning record.”

Duncan Armstrong on Laurie Lawrence


Duncan Armstrong recalls the moment he won gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympics


However it wasn’t all fun and games. 12 years after winning gold at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, his gold medal was stolen.

“I lent it to an Australian newspaper and it went into the News Corp building and didn’t come out. So someone’s basically just walked out of the building with it”, Armstrong said.

“Back in 1996 when I loaned it to them for a photograph. Very very sad situation. I still don’t know where it is and unfortunately my kids have never seen it. Hopefully one day it’ll shake loose wherever it has gone and hopefully it’s still in existence. It’s a pretty un-Australian event.”

Duncan Armstrong on gold medal that was stolen



Duncan Armstrong on what went wrong at the 1988 Seoul Olympics


Listen to the full interview below: