How Gold Medals Became the Award for the World Olympics

Gold Medals

Last Updated on March 23, 2024 by Saira Farman

Any professional athlete will tell you that they want to get to the top of their respective sports. Sadly, not everyone can get there, as some are better than others. When it comes to the Olympics, the top performers get gold. Now you may be asking how it came to be that the top performers in the Olympic games get to win the gold medal? What’s the history there, and what can you make of it? Below is how gold medals became an award for the World Olympics.

When they Were First Awarded

Back in the years, winners of the Olympics were adorned with olive wreaths. It was more of a sign than it was anything else like it is today. There were standard records to be kept, just in memory, and that was special enough. This, though, was way back in 776 BCE. Today, culture is quite different from the ancient Olympic games. In 1896 in Athens, Greece, this is when the first modern Olympics were held. This event is when there was an introduction of trophies and medals. During these games, it was a bit different than it is today. The first place was handed the silver medal, the second was awarded the bronze, and the third was left empty-handed. It seemed odd at some point, leaving the third-place empty-handed. Gold medals were introduced to the games in 1904 at the St. Louis Olympics. That’s how the tradition of the now-famous gold, silver, and bronze medals was presented at the Olympic games. 

Designing of Awards

It was easy for the St. Louis city organizing committee to come up with the idea of gold as the Olympic committee leaves it to them to decide. In whichever city the Olympic games take place in, the organizing committee is responsible for designing awards. St. Louis decides to offer the gold as they saw no need to have someone come up to the podium and leave empty-handed. And since gold is quite valuable, it was seen as the ideal fit for a winner of the Olympic games. Though the city organizing committee is responsible for the design, some regulations have been set in place. There are some key elements that the design needs to follow

  • The official name of the respective games. For example, “Games of the XXXII Olympic “city” “year.”
  • The Olympics five rings symbol
  • Nike – this is the Greek goddess of Victory, and that’s in front of the Panathinaikos Stadium

Once those elements are available, the city can involve citizens in the creative process as long as the regulation is followed. No city is under obligation to follow up on what the previous city did with its medals. They can go as unique as they possibly can. 

Why Gold Medals Are The Awards of The Olympics

When it comes to the Olympics, there’s a lot of history and culture that goes into those games. That’s why they are some of the most significant events which take place in the world. For the gold medals, that is how they started and grew to be as famous as they are, and there’s no site for changing them soon. 

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