Solid Gold: Seven Fun Facts About Olympic Medals

More than two dozen gold medals are now hanging around the necks of American athletes who've participated in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. But how much do you know about those medals? Here are seven fascinating facts courtesy of the Money Museum in Colorado Springs, which is currently hosting an exhibit of Olympic proportions:  Olympic Games — History & Numismatics.

7. “Citius, Altius, Fortius”
The Olympic motto, “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (“Faster, Higher, Stronger”), has been the official motto of the Games since 1924. The motto has been featured on four Winter Games medals, but does not appear on any medals from the Summer Games.

6. A wreath for first place
During the first modern Olympics in 1896, first-place athletes were crowned with an olive wreath and awarded a silver medal. It was not until the 1904 Summer Olympic Games in St. Louis that the now-famous gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded.

5. Winter Games medals are heavier
Olympic medal designs have varied considerably over time. Award medals presented at the Summer Games tend to lean on a classical design, whereas medals awarded at the Winter Games have a more freestyle layout. The Winter Games medals are generally larger, thicker and heavier than those for the Summer Games.

Keep reading for more fun facts.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.