Crime doesn't pay ... Russia's Ivan Ukhov had his vest stolen but still took out the gold medal in the high jump.

Crime doesn't pay ... Russia's Ivan Ukhov had his vest stolen but still took out the gold medal in the high jump. Photo: AP

Russia's Ivan Ukhov was forced to borrow a T-shirt from a teammate to win the Olympic high jump title after his vest was stolen midway through the competition.

"I had put it (vest) in my bag as I always do after each attempt but it disappeared. Someone might have stolen it," he was quoted as saying by Russian media on Wednesday.

The shaggy-haired Russian jumped 2.38 metres in rainy conditions on Tuesday night to clinch the gold while his nearest rival, American Erik Kynard, could only manage 2.33m.

Fans at the London Olympic stadium as well as millions watching the competition on television were amazed to see Ukhov making the winning attempt in a light-blue T-shirt instead of his national team kit.

Ukhov asked compatriot and 2008 Olympic champion Andrei Silnov to give him a spare shirt after he discovered the loss.

"I was afraid I could be disqualified for not wearing a proper uniform but in the end it turned out just fine. It was symbolic that I won gold in Silnov's shirt. I guess Andrei being the 2008 champion just passed me the good luck," Ukhov said.

It was not the first time athletes have seen their clothes disappear at Olympic events.

British cyclist Bradley Wiggins had his shorts stolen while he was using the shower following his gold-medal performance in the men's time trial race last week.

Reuters