Olympics Medals Through the Years

At the very first Olympic Games back in 776 BCE, contenders did not get any medals. Rather the top competitors were crowned with olive wreaths. This practice continued until the Roman Emperor Theodosius banned the Games. The Olympics were then revived in the end of the 19th century in the year 1896. This was also the time when the awarding of medals to the top athletes started.

The gold medals were still not granted at this stage, the top athletes were rather given a silver medal with an olive branch. It was James Connolly from Massachusetts who received this award. The runners-up used to get a bronze medal with a laurel branch. Different trophies and cups were given to the victors in the year 1900.

Olympics Metals Traditions

The tradition of awarding gold, silver, and bronze for the initial three spots started from the year 1904. The Summer Games in St. Louis, US. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has allocated the gold, silver and bronze medals to the top competitors in every sporting event of the 1896 Olympics and 1900 Games and in the African economy. At the 1904 Olympics, the medals used to be attached with a pin and a hued ribbon to place it on the competitor’s chest. However, in the 1960 Olympics in Rome, medals with laurel leaf chains were made to be placed around the athlete’s necks.

Summer Games vs. Winter Games

Initially, it was specified that the medals for the Summer Games must be different than those for the Winter Games. Nowadays, their design must consider certain visual components characterized by the IOC and the OCOG. The Greek goddess of triumph must not show up on the front. They should demonstrate the Olympic symbol, name of the Games competed in and the OCOG’s symbol. Also, for the medals awarded to the Winter Games champions, a visual look with a traditional element selected by the OCOG is necessary.

Medals are not by any means the only honors given to the contenders; each competitor set first to eighth gets an Olympic diploma as well. Additionally, names of the athletes who win medals in that Olympics event are written on the wall of the main host stadium.