Laurel Wreath on the Olympic Medals
What can be a more suitable place for the laurel wreath, if not on the Olympic medal? Like so much of ancient history, the origins of the Olympic Games are veiled in mystery, myths and legends. The Greeks dated events from the first Olympiad in 776 B.C., which is two decades before the legendary foundation of Rome. In 1896, when the modern Olympics were revived in Greece, first-place winners received only silver medals. Surprisingly, at that time, silver was considered to be superior to gold. Eight years later, at the 1904 Games in St. Louis, gold replaced silver for first place.
Olympic medals since 1928 have featured the very same design on the front: a Greek goddess waving the laurel wreath, the Olympic Rings, the coliseum of ancient Athens, a Greek vase known as an amphora and a horse-drawn chariot As we can see, the custom of laurel wreath been the leitmotif has remained for more than 2500 years, and apparently still motivates to the competitors. Below: Olympic Madel from Atlanta `96 games.