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A gold medal is a medal awarded for highest achievement in a non-military field. Its name derives from the use of at least a fraction of gold in form of plating or alloying in its manufacture.
Since the eighteenth century, gold medals have been awarded in the arts, for example, by the Royal Danish Academy, usually as a symbol of an award to give an outstanding student some financial freedom. Others offer only the prestige of the award. Many organizations now award gold medals either annually or extraordinarily, including UNESCO and various academic societies.
While some gold medals are solid gold, others are gold-plated or silver-gilt, like those of the Olympic Games, the Lorentz Medal, the United States Congressional Gold Medal and the Nobel Prize medal. Nobel Prize medals consist of 18 karat green gold plated with 24 karat gold. Before 1980 they were struck in 23 karat gold.
Before the establishment of standard military awards, e.g., the Medal of Honor, it was common practice to have a medal specially created to provide national recognition for a significant military or naval victory or accomplishment. In the United States, Congress would enact a resolution asking the President to reward those responsible. The commanding officer would receive a gold medal and his officers silver medals.
Medals have historically been given as prizes in various types of competitive activities, especially athletics.
Traditionally, medals are made of the following metals:
Occasionally, Platinum medals can be awarded.
These metals designate the first three Ages of Man in Greek mythology: the Golden Age, when men lived among the gods, the Silver Age, where youth lasted a hundred years, and the Bronze Age, the era of heroes.
The custom of awarding the sequence of gold, silver, and bronze medals for the first three highest achievers dates from at least the 19th century, with the National Association of Amateur Athletes in the United States awarding such medals as early as 1884.
This standard was adopted for Olympic competition at the 1904 Summer Olympics. At the 1896 event, silver was awarded to winners and bronze to runners-up, while at 1900 other prizes were given, not medals.
At the modern Olympic Games, winners of a sporting discipline receive a gold medal in recognition of their achievement.
At the Ancient Olympic Games only one winner per event was crowned with kotinos, an olive wreath made of wild olive leaves from a sacred tree near the temple of Zeus at Olympia. Aristophanes in Plutus makes a remark why victorious athletes are crowned with wreath made of wild olive instead of gold.Herodotus describes a story that explains why there were only a few Greek men at the Battle of Thermopylae since "all other men were participating in the Olympic Games" and that the prize for the winner was "an olive-wreath". When Tigranes, an Armenian general learned this, he uttered to his leader: "Good heavens! what kind of men are these against whom you have brought us to fight? Men who do not compete for possessions, but for honour". Hence medals were not awarded at the ancient Olympic Games.
At the 1896 Summer Olympics, winners received a silver medal and the second-place finisher received a bronze medal. In 1900, most winners received cups or trophies instead of medals. The next three Olympics (1904, 1908, 1912) awarded the winners solid gold medals, but the medals themselves were smaller. The use of gold rapidly declined with the onset of the First World War and also with the onset of the Second World War.The last series of Olympic medals to be made of solid gold were awarded at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden.
Olympic gold medals are required to be made from at least 92.5% silver, and must contain a minimum of 6 grams of gold.All Olympic medals must be at least 60mm in diameter and 3mm thick. Minting the medals is the responsibility of the Olympic host. From 1928 through 1968 the design was always the same: the obverse showed a generic design by Florentine artist Giuseppe Cassioli of Greek goddess Nike with Rome's Colloseum in the background and text naming the host city; the reverse showed another generic design of Nike saluting an Olympic champion.
From the 1972 Summer Olympics through 2000, Cassioli's design (or a slight modification) remained on the obverse with a custom design by the host city on the reverse. Noting that Cassioli's design showed a Roman amphitheater for what originally were Greek games, a new obverse design was commissioned for the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. For the 2008 Beijing Olympics medals had a diameter of 70mm and were 6mm thick, with the front displaying a winged figure of victory and the back showed a Beijing Olympics symbol surrounded by an inset jade circle.
Winter Olympics medals have been of more varied design. The silver and bronze medals have always borne the same designs.
The award of a gold medal, often coupled with the award of silver and bronze medals to the next place finishers, has been adopted in other sports competitions and in other competitive fields, such as music and writing, as well as some competitive games. Typically bronze medals are awarded only to third place, but in some contests there is some variety, such as International barbershop music contests where bronze medals are awarded for third, fourth, and fifth place.
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An Olympic medal is awarded to successful competitors at one of the Olympic Games. There are three classes of medal: gold, awarded to the winner; silver, awarded to the runner-up; and bronze, awarded to the third place. The granting of awards is laid out in detail in the Olympic protocols.
A medal or medallion is a small portable artistic object, a thin disc, normally of metal, carrying a design, usually on both sides. They typically have a commemorative purpose of some kind, and many are given as awards. They may be intended to be worn, suspended from clothing or jewellery in some way. They may be struck like a coin by dies or die-cast in a mould.
A silver medal in sports and other similar areas involving competition is a medal made of, or plated with, silver awarded to the second-place finisher, or runner-up, of contests or competitions such as the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, etc. The outright winner receives a gold medal and the third place a bronze medal. More generally, silver is traditionally a metal sometimes used for all types of high-quality medals, including artistic ones.
A bronze medal in sports and other similar areas involving competition is a medal made of bronze awarded to the third-place finisher of contests or competitions such as the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, etc. The outright winner receives a gold medal and the second place a silver medal. More generally, bronze is traditionally the most common metal used for all types of high-quality medals, including artistic ones. The practice of awarding bronze third place medals began at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, Missouri, before which only first and second places were awarded.
The Olympic symbols are icons, flags and symbols used by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to elevate the Olympic Games. Some—such as the flame, fanfare and theme—are more commonly used during Olympic competition, but others, such as the flags, can be seen throughout the years. The Olympic flag was created under the guidance of Baron de Coubertin in 1913 and was released in 1914. It was first hoisted in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium at the 1920 Summer Olympics in the main stadium. The five rings represent the five continents of the world.
The 2004 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad, were a summer multi-sport event held in Athens, the capital city of Greece, from 13 to 29 August 2004. A total of 10,625 athletes from 201 countries represented by National Olympic Committees participated in these games, competing in 301 events in 28 sports. Kiribati and Timor Leste competed for the first time in these Olympic Games.
The 1960 Summer Olympics medal table is a list of National Olympic Committees ranked by the number of medals won during the 1960 Summer Olympics, held in Rome, Italy from August 25 to September 11, 1960. A total of 5,338 athletes from 83 countries participated in these Games, competing in 150 events in 17 sports. The bronze medal Iraq's Abdul Wahid Aziz won in men's lightweight weightlifting is the only Olympic medal Iraq has ever won, currently the longest drought for any country who has won at least one Olympic medal.
The 1896 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the I Olympiad, were a summer multi-sport event held in Athens, the capital of Greece, from 6 to 15 April 1896, and were the first Olympic Games of the Modern era. A total of 241 athletes from 14 nations participated in 43 events in nine sports at these games.
Athletes from Belarus began their Olympic participation at the 1952 Summer Games in Helsinki, Finland as part of the Soviet Union. After the Soviet Union disbanded in 1991, Belarus, along with four of the other fourteen former Soviet republics, competed in the 1992 Winter Olympics as the Unified Team. Later in 1992, eleven republics joined Belarus to compete as the Unified Team at the Summer Games in Barcelona, Spain. Two years later, Belarus competed for the first time as an independent nation in the 1994 Winter Olympics, held in Lillehammer, Norway. Since 1994, Belarus has won medals at each Winter and Summer Olympics it has participated in.
In ancient Greek civilization, Nike was a goddess who personified victory. Her Roman equivalent was Victoria.
The War Cross is a military decoration of Greece, awarded for heroism in wartime to both Greeks and foreign allies. There have been three versions of the cross, the 1917 version covering World War I, the 1940 version covering the Second World War and the Greek Civil War, and the 1974 version covering peacekeeping missions in the subsequent years.
The Sea Gallantry Medal (SGM), is a United Kingdom award for civil gallantry at sea.
The following medal table is a list of National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and one non-NOC team ranked by the number of gold medals won by their athletes during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, from 5 to 21 August 2016.
The Olive wreath also known as kotinos, was the prize for the winner at the ancient Olympic Games. It was a branch of the wild olive tree Kallistefanos Elea that grew at Olympia, intertwined to form a circle or a horse-shoe. The branches of the sacred wild-olive tree near the temple of Zeus were cut by a pais amphithales with a pair of golden scissors. Then he took them to the temple of Hera and placed them on a gold-ivory table. From there, the Hellanodikai would take them, make the wreaths and crown the winners of the Games.
The Barcelona 1992 Olympic Official Commemorative Medals Set is a numismatic collection composed of 16 medals, commemorating the 1992 Summer Olympics that held in Barcelona. They share a common reverse designed by Josep Maria Trias with the logo of the games, and 16 different patterns on the obverse. The number 16 was chosen because the Games lasted sixteen days.
Giuseppe Cassioli was an Italian painter and sculptor known for his Summer Olympic Games medal design. Many of his paintings are on display at the Museo Cassioli di Pittura senese dell'Ottocento in Asciano, Tuscany.
Wojciech Pietranik is a Polish artist and sculptor best known for his design work for coins and medals.
The medal table of the 2012 Summer Paralympics ranks the participating National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) by the number of gold medals won by their athletes during the competition. The 2012 Paralympics was the fourteenth Games to be held, a quadrennial competition open to athletes with physical and intellectual disabilities. The games were held in London, United Kingdom, from 29 August to 9 September 2012.
Funeral games are athletic competitions held in honor of a recently deceased person. The celebration of funeral games was common to a number of ancient civilizations. Athletics and games such as wrestling are depicted on Sumerian statues dating from approximately 2600 BC, and funeral games are depicted in early Greek vases, such as the Francois vase at Florence and the Amphiaraus vase in Berlin. In some accounts, funeral games were not merely held to honor the deceased, but in order to propitiate the spirits of those who had died.
The medal table of the 2016 Summer Paralympics ranks the participating National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) by the number of gold medals won by their athletes during the competition. The 2016 Paralympics was the fifteenth Games to be held, a quadrennial competition open to athletes with physical and intellectual disabilities. The games were held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 7 September to 18 September