1904 Olympic Games in St Louis that an Olympicathlete first won a gold medal. In 1907, theInternational Olympic Committee (IOC) decided toadopt a standard design for Olympic medals. The mostconsistent in form are those awarded at SummerGames. From the 1928 Games in Amsterdam untilMexico 1968, all medals had one thing in common:the obverse depicted Nike, the goddess of victory. In her left hand she held a palm and in her right,the winner's crown - a laurel wreath. In the lowerright-hand corner is a fragment of the Colosseum andinscribed above it is the number of the Olympiad, thename of the host city and the year. Symbolisingvictory, fraternity and universality, the design wascreated by Florentine artist Giuseppe Cassioli, whowon a competition held by the IOC in 1921. Thereverse side of the medal carried a depiction of anOlympic athlete hoisted high by the crowd, with the Olympic stadium in the background. In 1960, the Rome Organising Committeeintroduced a chain to hang each medal on (with theexception of medals awarded in certain team events),an echo of the tradition of awarding poets andintellectuals with chains that was popular in the MiddleAges. So unsure were they of how this new measuremight be received that the women presenting themedals were also equipped with a pair of scissors,ready to snip away should the IOC disapprove.Fortunately the opposite was the case, and now allOlympic medals are hung around the champion's neck, rather than presented on a cushion. The Organising Committee for the Games in Munichin 1972 took things a step further when it did away with the traditional reverse designaltogether and went Bauhaus: Gerhard Marck's medaldepicted two naked youths, Castor and Pollux; Zeusand Léda's twin sons and the patrons of sportscompetitions and friendship. This created a new tradition of keeping the Cassiolidesign on the obverse while each host city presented its own design on the reverse. This continued until2004, when, at the Games in Athens, a new obversemotif - and a new summer medal tradition - wasintroduced: Elena Votsi's design portrayed Nike flyinginto the Panathenian stadium, where the Games were first renewed in 1896, thus tying all Olympicsummer medals to the country of the Games' originfrom then on. The medals awarded at the Olympic WinterGames, by contrast, have been as wide ranging and as wonderful as the athletes they were designed toreward. They have varied in shape - from relativelysquare shaped (Sarajevo 1984), to doughnut (Turin2006) to "squircle" (Vancouver 2010). Some designershave chosen to represent their cities and their culturethrough symbolism - the medals awarded at Calgaryin 1988 for example, bear the motif of a native52OLYMPIC REVIEWOLYMPIC MEDALS"SO UNSURE WERE THEY OF HOWTHIS NEW CHAIN MIGHT BERECEIVED THAT THE WOMEN PRESENTING THE MEDALS WEREALSO EQUIPPED WITH A PAIR OFSCISSORS READY TO SNIP AWAY.FORTUNATELY THE OPPOSITE WASTHE CASE AND NOW ALL OLYMPICMEDALS ARE HUNG AROUND THE CHAMPION'S NECK"Below Ethiopia's Abebe Bikila(centre) afterwinning themarathon at the1960 Games inRome, the firstwhere the medals werehung on a chainBelow rightJapan's NaokoTakahashi withher gold medalfrom thewomen'smarathon inSydney in 2000 Above rightAustralian cyclist Ryan Bayleywith the Athens 2004 medal Right Double goldmedallist Michaela Dorfmeister of Austria poseswith the innovative and striking 'doughnut'medals from the 2006 Games in Turin
OLYMPIC MEDALSAmerican headdress made up of ski sticks, a bob, skis, skate blades, a stick, a luge and a rifle.Many other designs however, have been morematter-of-fact, such as the Sydney 2000 medals whichproudly portray the Sydney Opera House, or the Taegukpatterns from the Korean national flag which wererepeated on the medals at Seoul in 1988. Some haveexperimented with materials, starting with Albertville in 1992, where all the medals were created (andhandcrafted by 35 people) in glass by Lalique. AtLillehammer in 1994, designer Ingjerd Hanevold madethe bold move of opting for granite. "I tried to create something that reflects whatNorwegians like and appreciate, i.e. nature. There isplenty of granite in our country, and it is beautiful in its simplicity," she said. Most recently, in 2008, the Beijing medals becamethe first to incorporate jade, inspired by "bi", theancient jade piece inscribed with a dragon pattern, ?