A successful candidate at the Olympic Games obtains an Olympics medal. There are 3 medals types to be won: gold, silver, and bronze, which are given to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, respectively. The distribution of Olympics medals is specified in the Olympic protocols.
Athletes from all over the world have had to wait an additional year for their chance at the ultimate aim of winning a medal at the Tokyo Olympics. At the Tokyo Olympics, decorated athletes such as gymnast Simone Biles and swimmer Katie Ledecky will be looking to add to their hardware collection, while some Team USA members will be hoping to take home their first medals.
When were medals first awarded at the Olympics Games?
Triumphs at the ancient Olympics Games, which date back to 776 BCE, were adorned with olive wreaths rather than medals as seen in today’s competition.
A brief history of the Olympics Medals
The custom of giving medals to victors began with the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. The first-place winner gets a silver medal, the second-place winner received a bronze medal, and third-place finishers were left empty-handed. At the St. Louis Olympics in 1904, the now-famous tradition of gold, silver, and bronze medals commenced.
The prizes are designed by the organizing committee of the host city. The International Olympic Committee requires that each Olympics medal design include the following elements: Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, in front of Panathinaikos Stadium, the official name of the respective Games (this summer will say “Games of the XXXII Olympiad Tokyo 2020”), and the Olympic five rings symbol.
What do the 2020 Tokyo Olympics medals look like?
The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee oversaw the “Tokyo 2020 Medal Project,” which collected tiny electrical items such as old cell phones across Japan. The project was the first in Olympic history in which a host country involved its citizens in the manufacturing of medals and used recycled materials to produce prizes for the Games.
The public was invited to participate in a design competition to submit suggestions for how the awards should appear. After receiving over 400 submissions, a design was chosen that represents the notion that athletes must “strive for success daily” to attain greatness.
Theme of Tokyo Olympics medals
The 2020 Tokyo Olympic medals will be designed on the themes of “light” and “brilliance,” and will resemble rough stones that have been polished to shine. The medals, which gather and reflect light patterns, are intended to represent the spirit of the Olympic competitors and their fans. The design of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic medal is meant to showcase the variety and to depict a society where individuals who work hard and compete are rewarded.
Do Olympians keep their medals?
Some Olympians preserve their medals and exhibit them in their houses, while others conceal their medals in unusual places.
After the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, stated to Anderson Cooper that he keeps his gold medals wrapped in a T-shirt in a traveling cosmetics box. After the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, skier Mikaela Shiffrin told NBC that she kept her medals in her sock drawer. Christie Pearce (previously Rampone), a soccer player, admits to hiding her medals among her pots and pans, where she didn’t think anybody would check.
How much are Olympics medals worth?
Athletes have elected to sell their equipment. Medals aren’t worth anything before they’re presented to an Olympian. A melted-down gold medal from the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics was worth around $577, a silver medal was for about $320, and a bronze medal was only about $3.50.
The value of the medals intensifies once they are in the hands of an Olympian. Wladimir Klitschko, a Ukrainian boxer, sold his gold medal from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics for $1 million, which he later donated to a children’s charity. After selling his gold medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics on eBay, American swimmer Anthony Ervin was able to contribute $17,101 to tsunami victims in the Indian Ocean in 2004.
Top 10 countries with the most Olympics medals
- United States (2827 medals)
- United Kingdom (883 medals)
- Germany (855 medals)
- France (840 medals)
- Italy (701 medals)
- Sweden (652 medals)
- China (608 medals)
- Russia (546 medals)
- Norway (520 medals)
- Canada (501 medals)
Top 13 males with the most Olympics medals
|2||Nikolai Andrianov||Soviet Union||Gymnastics||15|
|3||Boris Shakhlin||Soviet Union||Gymnastics||13|
|12||Viktor Chukarin||Soviet Union||Gymnastics||11|
Top 9 females with the most Olympics medals
|1||Larisa Latynina||Soviet Union||Gymnastics||18|
|9||Polina Astakhova||Soviet Union||Gymnastics||10|
Summer Olympics medal designs
|1896||Athens, Greece||Jules-Clément Chaplain||Paris Mint||48||3.8||47|
|1900||Paris, France||Frédérique Vernon||Paris Mint||59 x 41||3.2||53|
|1904||St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.||Dieges & Clust||Dieges & Clust||37.8||3.5||21|
|1908||London, Great Britain||Bertram Mackennal||Vaughton & Sons||33||4.4||21|
|1912||Stockholm, Sweden||Bertram Mackennal (obverse)
Erik Lindberg (reverse)
|C.C. Sporrong & Co||33.4||1.5||24|
|1920||Antwerp, Belgium||Josué Dupon||Coosmans||59||4.4||79|
|1924||Paris, France||André Rivaud||Paris Mint||55||4.8||79|
|1928||Amsterdam, Netherlands||Giuseppe Cassioli||Dutch State Mint||55||3||66|
|1932||Los Angeles, U.S.||Giuseppe Cassioli||Whitehead & Hoag||55.3||5.7||96|
|1936||Berlin, Germany||Giuseppe Cassioli||B.H. Mayer||55||5||71|
|1948||London, Great Britain||Giuseppe Cassioli||John Pinches||51.4||5.1||60|
|1952||Helsinki, Finland||Giuseppe Cassioli||Kultakeskus Oy||51||4.8||46.5|
|1956||Melbourne, Australia||Giuseppe Cassioli||K.G. Luke||51||4.8||68|
|1960||Rome, Italy||Giuseppe Cassioli||Artistice Fiorentini||68||6.5||211|
|1964||Tokyo, Japan||Giuseppe Cassioli and Toshikaka Koshiba||Japan Mint||60||7.5||62|
|1968||Mexico City, Mexico||Giuseppe Cassioli||60||6||130|
|1972||Munich, Germany||Giuseppe Cassioli (obverse)
Gerhard Marcks (reverse)
|1976||Montreal, Quebec, Canada||Giuseppe Cassioli (obverse)||Royal Canadian Mint||60||5.8||154|
|1980||Moscow, Russia||Giuseppe Cassioli (obverse)
Ilya Postol (reverse)
|1984||Los Angeles, U.S.||Giuseppe Cassioli||Jostens, Inc||60||7.9||141|
|1988||Seoul, South Korea||Giuseppe Cassioli (obverse)||Korea Minting Security Printing Corporation||60||7||152|
|1992||Barcelona, Spain||Xavier Corbero||Royal Mint of Spain||70||9.8||231|
|1996||Atlanta, U.S.||Malcolm Grear Designers||Reed & Barton||70||5||181|
|2000||Sydney, Australia||Wojciech Pietranik||Royal Australian Mint||68||5||180|
|2004||Athens, Greece||Elena Votsi||60||5||135|
|2008||Beijing, China||Xiao Yong||China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation||70||6||200|
|2012||London, United Kingdom||David Watkins||Royal Mint||85||8–10||357–412|
|2016||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||Casa da Moeda do Brasil||85||6-11||500|
|2020||Tokyo, Japan||Junichi Kawanishi||Japan Mint||85||7.7-12.1||450-556|
Winter Olympic medal designs
|1924||Chamonix, France||Raoul Bernard||Paris Mint||55||4||75|
|1928||St. Moritz, Switzerland||Arnold Hunerwadel||Huguenin Frères||50.4||3||51|
|1932||Lake Placid, U.S.||Robbins Company||55||3||51|
|1936||Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany||Richard Klein||Deschler & Sohn||100||4||324|
|1948||St. Moritz, Switzerland||Paul Andre Droz||Huguenin Frères||60.2||3.8||103|
|1952||Oslo, Norway||Vasos Falireus and Knut Yvan||Th. Marthinsen||70||3||137.5|
|1956||Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy||Costantino Affer||Lorioli Bros.||60.2||3||120.5|
|1960||Squaw Valley, U.S.||Herff Jones||Herff Jones Company||55.3||4.3||95|
|1964||Innsbruck, Austria||Martha Coufal (obverse)
Arthur Zegler (reverse)
|1968||Grenoble, France||Roger Excoffon||Paris Mint||61||3.3||124|
|1972||Sapporo, Japan||Yagi Kazumi (obverse)
Ikko Tanaka (reverse)
|Mint Bureau of the Finance Ministry||57.3 x 61.3||5||130|
|1976||Innsbruck, Austria||Martha Coufal (obverse)
Arthur Zegler (reverse)
|1980||Lake Placid, U.S.||Gladys Gunzer||Medallic Art Company||81||6.1||205|
|1984||Sarajevo, Yugoslavia||Nebojša Mitrić||Zlatara Majdanpek and Zavod za izradu novčanica||71.1 x 65.1||3.1||164|
|1988||Calgary, Alberta, Canada||Fridrich Peter||Jostens||69||5||193|
|1992||Albertville, France||René Lalique||René Lalique||92||9.1||169|
|1994||Lillehammer, Norway||Ingjerd Hanevold||Th. Marthinsen||80||8.5||131|
|1998||Nagano, Japan||Takeshi Ito||Kiso Kurashi Craft Center||80||8||261|
|2002||Salt Lake City, U.S.||Scott Given, Axiom Design||O.C. Tanner||85||10||567|
|2006||Turin, Italy||Dario Quatrini||Ottaviani||107||10||469|
|2010||Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada||Corrine Hunt and Omer Arbel||Royal Canadian Mint||100||6||500–576|
|2014||Sochi, Russian Federation||ADAMAS||ADAMAS||100||10||460, 525, 531|
|2018||Pyeongchang County, South Korea||Lee Suk-woo||92.5||586, 580, 493|