Mystery Medal

17  September 2017

Göran R Buckhorn writes:

One of the enjoyable things about being the editor of HTBS is the contact with the website’s readers. HTBS might get some praise, or, more seldom, criticism (but it happens…), and then we have the random questions that might come in now and then about a trophy, medal or something other rowing-related.

On Friday, Steffie Gomez Counahan, a HTBS reader from Mexico, sent an e-mail regarding a rowing medal that she had received from a friend, who is a numismatist. Steffie is hoping that someone among the readers or contributors might know more about the gift she received. She writes that the medal – or is it a medallion? – is 30 mm in diametre and has a ‘W&A’ stamped on the reverse side – see picture below. Steffie thinks it might be from ca 1950-1960.

Steffie mentions that she is very interested in medals. ‘My father is a medalist sculptor. He did the 1968 medals for the Olympic Games in Mexico City, and many other beautiful medals, and has passed on to me the love for medals,’ she writes. In her search for information about her medal, she came across the 1 June 2016 HTBS article written by Greg Denieffe, “Crewcial Collectables: Cigarettes, Whiskey & Wild Wild Women”, where there is a beautiful silver medal of the ancient Celtic Irish Queen Tailte.

Steffie actually has more than one Irish connection: ‘My mother is Irish and my father is an Irish descendant,’ she writes. Steffie’s father’s grandmother was an Irish nun, who came to Mexico to open a Catholic school for girls in the beautiful state of Oaxaca in the southwest of Mexico. However, she left the order to be able to marry Steffie’s great-grandfather!

So, does Steffie has any relations to the sport of rowing, I asked her in an e-mail?

‘I am a swimmer, but I have a family of rowers,’ Steffie replies, ‘my two twin brothers rowed, and one of them, Gerardo Miguel Gomez Counahan, competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in the lightweight double.’ [Gerardo rowed together with Romulo Bouzas Rodriguez; they finished 4th in the B-Final rendering them a 10 place total]. Steffie continues: ‘My two sons rowed until a couple of years ago, and because of that, I became a Rowing Referee. It was a different way to watch my children rowing, and not just to be sitting at the finish line. But I never rowed myself.’

Before sending her questions about the medal to HTBS, Steffie talked to her brother Gerardo, as she had sent him Greg’s article with the medal of Queen Tailte.

‘Gerardo lived in Ireland a few years ago, in Limerick, and told me he walked every day by the Shannon Rowing Club, which is depicted in [Greg’s] article,’ Steffie writes.

Back to Steffie’s medal: anyone who might have information about it or any idea where it might come from is welcome to write a comment to this article, or to contact HTBS at: gbuckhorn – at – gmail – dot – com

Thank you!

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