Olympic Medals

By Tiffany

Before Medals

There was a time when the Olympic winners didn't receive medals but instead received other things and then that changed later on. In the Ancient Olympics, the victor received a crown made from olive leaves and was entitled to have a statue of himself in Olympia.

The first medal was handed out in 1896 in Athens, Greece. The winner would receive a silver medal along with an olive tree branch.

In the 1900 summer Olympics, the first place winner did not get a gold medal but instead received paintings because they were considered more valuable while the second winner received a silver medal and the third place winner went home empty handed.

The first city to award gold, silver and bronze medals was St. Louis in 1904.

Gold, Silver and Bronze

Gold Medal

Each medal is 10 mm thick and has a diameter of 10 cm. The mass of the medals are from 460 grams to 530 grams.

The gold medal isn't completely solid gold if that's what you're all thinking. In fact, 92.5% of the medal is silver. It only contains 6 grams of gold with a 999 hallmark and 525 grams of silver 960 hallmark (hallmark is marks struck on precious medals like platinum, gold and silver). The value of this medal is about $566. If the Sochi gold medal was made out of solid gold, the value would be approximately $21,500.

Silver Medal

The silver medals are 92.5% silver like the gold medals. The silver medal contains 525 grams of silver with a 960 hallmark. The value of this medal is about $323.

Bronze Medal

The bronze medals contain 460 grams of hallmark and 585 grams of bronze. The value of this medal is only about $3.25.

Medal Design

The design of the Sochi 2014 Olympic medal reflects the country of Russia with their pristine nature and cultural heritage. The sun contrasts with Sochi's snowy mountain tops and the sea and the frosty ice. These medals contrast Russia's natural landscape and is a real work of art.

On the medals, you can see the jagged mountains and different line artwork. It also shows the sport, the year (2014), the place this Olympic takes place in, Sochi Russia, along with the Olympic symbol.

Medal Count

2,569 medals have been won in total for all the winter Olympics:

860 gold, 860 silver and 849 bronze.

These are the top 5 leading countries:

  1. Norway- 303 medals
  2. USA- 253 medals
  3. Soviet Union- 194 medals
  4. Germany- 188 medals
  5. Austria- 145 medals
Check out the rest of the list at:

Did You Know?

  • It takes 18 hours to make one medal
  • 1300 medals were made for the 2014 winter Olympics, with a total weight of 700 kg
  • About 2.5 kg of gold, 480 kg of silver, and 210 kg of bronze will be used to make the medals
  • A solid gold medal was given out in the 1912 summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden