Clarksville, TN – This month, athletes from around the world will compete for “the gold” in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. But for early Olympic athletes – even those in the modern era – gold wasn’t part of the plan. It was silver.
During the original competitions in ancient Greece, there were no medals at all. Game officials recognized champions with an olive branch, which was twisted into a circular or horseshoe-shaped laurel.
Medals were introduced during the first modern-era Olympics in 1896. However, there was no gold medal. The first-place winners received a silver medal and an olive branch.
The gold medal – and the contemporary gold/silver/bronze medal sequence – was introduced in the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis, Missouri.
As it turns out, today’s gold medal is never too far from its roots. While it may be covered in gold (six grams to be exact), the bulk of it is not gold at all. It’s actually silver.
Enjoy your July – and enjoy the Games!