Gold medals have become synonymous with the Olympic Games. They are given to the winners of each discipline, recognizing their achievement and status as the best in the world. However, did you know that gold medals were not always a thing at the Olympics?
Winners at the Ancient Olympics received a crown made from olive leaves and a statue at the Olympia. Medals were introduced for the first modern Olympics in 1896, but even then, there were no gold medals. Instead, the winners received a silver medal while the runner-up got a bronze copper or a bronze medal, depending on the discipline. The 1900 Olympic Games awarded the winner with a gilt-silver medal, while it was only in 1904 that the gold medals became a feature at the Olympics.
Earlier this month, auction house RR Auction put up on sale a number of Olympic Memorabilia, including a silver medal from the 1896 Athens Olympics. The front side of the medal shows the Greek god Zeus holding Nike, the goddess of Victory, in the palm of his hand. The back side of the medal shows the Acropolis in Athens.
The silver medal, designed by French sculptor Jules-Clément Chaplain, ended up being the most prized piece of memorabilia at the auction, receiving a winning bid of $111,960.
Other items sold during the auction included an Olympic torch from the 1980 Winter Olympics, a bronze medal from the 1896 games, and a gold medal from the 1948 London Olympics.