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Winter Olympics Medal Designs

In the ancient Olympics, no medals were awarded, the first-place winner was given an olive branch to wear on his head, with no prize for second and third place. It was not until the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis that the custom of awarding gold, silver, and bronze for the first three place-getters began, a practice well established by the time of the first Winter Olympics in 1924.

The medals of the Winter Olympic Games have never had a common design, though they regularly feature snowflakes and the name of the event where the medal has been won.

2002 Salt Lake City Medal2002 Salt Lake City Medal

2002 Salt Lake City Medals

On the front of the medals for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics was the image of a man rising from the flames with a torch, representing the resilience of the human spirit and the power to inspire. On the back of the medal, the Greek goddess of victory Nike holds a small leaf, symbolizing the olive wreaths that were presented to the winners of the ancient Olympics in Greece. Each medal had a slightly unique shape, designed in the form of river rocks, such as those found in Utah waters.

Turin 2006 medal as depicted on a stamp from BelarusTurin 2006 medal as depicted on a stamp from Belarus

2006 Turin Medals

The medals presented at the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics was round in shape with an empty space in the center, representing the Italian piazza. The medal was tied up with the ribbon passing though the hole in the middle. The reverse featured the pictogram of the sports discipline in which the medal was won. 

2014 Sochi Medals

The design of the medals at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics was intended to resemble Sochi's landscape, with a semi-translucent section containing a "patchwork quilt" of diamonds representing mountains, with the diamonds themselves containing designs which reflect Russia's regions.

Sochi Olympic Games medal Sochi Olympic Games medal

2022 Beijing Medals

The medals awarded at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics were simple and classic, and concave like the traditional jade pendant design. The design's five rings was based on Chinese ancient jade concentric circle pendants, the five rings representing the Olympic spirit. The medals also resembled the medals of the Summer Games in 2008, showcasing Beijing as the first city to host both Summer and Winter Games.

Medal Trivia

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Olympics Extra

The next Olympics will be in Paris 2024, followed by the Winter edition in Milan-Cortina 2026. Check out the list of Olympic Games sports, as well as discontinued and demonstration sports.

Major Events Extra

The largest sporting event in the world is the Olympic Games, but there are many other multi-sport games. In terms of single sport events, nothing beats the FIFA World Cup. To see what's coming up, check out the calendar of major sporting events.

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