NAVI prodigy Oleksandr ‘s1mple’ Kostyliev has given away his IEM Cologne runner-up medal — to a fan in the crowd.
NAVI finished runners-up to FaZe in the ‘Cathedral of Counter-Strike’ after a five-map thriller that had a peak viewership of almost 1.25 million people, according to statistics website Esports Charts.
s1mple received his second-place medal from George Woo, Esports Marketing Manager at Intel, after the game. He quickly removed it and glanced at it. Shortly afterward, he tossed it to a fan standing in front of the stage.
In an interview with HLTV.org, s1mple denied that the gesture was born out of frustration.
“I’m just traveling all the time with my bag, and I don’t have a place for the big DHL MVP,” he said. “ And this medal is… too many medals inside this bag, you know, I need to save them for home.”
With the loss in the grand final, s1mple’s hopes of stopping FaZe from winning the Intel Grand Slam were dealt a significant blow. FaZe are now one tournament victory away from scooping the $1 million prize, and could become the fourth team to claim the prize — after Astralis, Team Liquid and NAVI — in early October, at ESL Pro League Season 16.
NAVI’s players will now enjoy what is set to be a short break before the new campaign begins on August 19 with the BLAST Premier Fall Groups.
In the coming weeks, the Ukrainian organization is expected to make a decision on the future of stand-in Viktor ‘sdy’ Orudzhev, who has replaced Kirill ‘Boombl4’ Mikhailov in the starting lineup.