WILDWOOD CREST — Triathlete Joe Maloy may not have won a medal at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this past summer, but his efforts have gotten him the next best thing — free pool access for life.
On Wednesday, the borough’s Board of Commissioners approved a resolution refunding Maloy the $125 he paid for access to the town’s swimming center on New Jersey Avenue for 2017 and waived future fees for the Wildwood Crest native.
Mayor Carl Groon said Maloy’s participation in the summer games was great for the community and called the 31-year-old triathlete a “good, hardworking kid.”
“He was in the Olympics, and it (the resolution) was a gesture of good will,” Groon said.
The practice of granting an Olympic athlete a special privilege in their hometown dates back to ancient Greece.
For example, winning athletes from Athens in the 5th century B.C. received a free meal at city hall every day for the rest of their lives, according to the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
Maloy, a graduate of Wildwood Catholic High School, was the top American finisher in the men’s triathlon. He placed 23rd overall in Brazil.
“The whole Olympic experience has been awesome for me, “Maloy told the Press of Atlantic City in August.”And the fact that I’ve been able to share it with my hometown has made it even more special.”