The History of The Olympic Medal: From Greece to Sochi
The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics has been filled with thrilling victories and devastating losses. No doubt these games have been action-packed, keeping people around the world on the very edge of their seats. Watching the games you may wonder how it would feel to stand on the podium and receive a coveted medal—but have you ever wondered how the tradition of receiving medals started? We dove into history once again to find out how these precious circles of gold, silver and bronze became a part of the Olympic games.
In the very beginning, when the games were in their infancy, one of the common items to see growing around Greece was olive trees. This popular tree was important not only for food, but olive oil from the fruit of the tree was used to anoint kings and athletes. When the Olympic Games came into existence, the branches from this all-important tree were woven into crowns and placed upon the heads of those who were victorious. These crowns symbolized the power of victory over their competitors.
By the time the 1800’s rolled around and the games resumed again, they began to take shape into the Olympics we know and love today. It wasn’t until 1896 games that athletes saw precious metals as a prize. For a short period of time the top winners would receive an olive branch and a silver medal while second and third place would receive a laurel branch with either a bronze or a copper medal. At this time gold medals were not a standard prize. In 1900’s winning athletes could have received trophies or even cups.
It wasn’t until 1904 that a gold medal was given out for the top performing athletes. The International Olympic Committee ruled that the top three athletes would receive a gold, silver or bronze medal. Gold would be the highest honor; silver would go to the second runner up, and finally bronze to the third runner-up.
With only two teams at the Lakeside Games, the only medals our athletes are going for are gold. Our third event in the Lakeside Games is the thrilling challenge of the Freestyle Cupathalon. This fast-paced event determined who would win the most gold at the Lakeside Games!
Congratulations to Customer Service! Lakeside Customer Service pulled of the most wins and received the most gold at our games, but the games aren’t over yet! Stay tuned for the #LakesideGames Closing Ceremonies!