London 2012: Olympic medals timeline

Medals have been presented to event winners and runners-up since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. For each host city, different medals are minted and the designs and sizes have changed through time. Explore them by clicking on the medals below.

Athens 1896

1896 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 3.8mmDiameter: 48mmWeight: 47gQuantity: 100Designer: Jules Clement Chaplain

Winners at the first modern Olympics did not receive a gold medal but a silver one. Runners-up had copper. On the front Zeus, father of the Gods, holds Nike, the goddess of victory. The Acropolis is shown on the back.

Paris 1900

1900 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 3.2mmDimensions: 59mm x 41mmWeight: 53gQuantity: --Designer: Frederique Vernon

Gold, silver and bronze medals for the first time, and the only rectangular design amid the discs. Nike is on the front, a victorious athlete on the back.

Saint Louis 1904

1904 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 3.5mmDiameter: 37.8mmWeight: 21gQuantity: --Designer: Dieges and Clust staff

These feature an athlete holding the victory symbol of a laurel crown, in front of a relief which shows the ancient Olympic disciplines. Nike is on the other side.

London 1908

1908 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 4.4mmDiameter: 33mmWeight: 21gQuantity: 250gDesigner: Bertram Mackennal

Australian sculptor Bertram Mackennal - who designed the King George V coins and stamps - depicted two women crowning an athlete with laurel, and England's patron saint, St George.

Stockholm 1912

1912 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 1.5mmDiameter: 33.4mmWeight: 24gQuantity: 90Designer: Bertram Mackennal/Erik Lindberg

Stockholm's medals include an image of a herald declaring the opening of the Games and a bust of Swedish gymnastics pioneer Pehr Henrik Ling.

Antwerp 1920

1920 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 4.4mmDiameter: 59mmWeight: 79gQuantity: 450Designer: Josue Dupon

The reverse design celebrates the mythical Roman soldier Silvius Brabo, said to have thrown the hand of toll-charging giant Druon Antigoon into the River Scheldt at Antwerp.

Paris 1924

1924 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 4.8mmDiameter: 55mmWeight: 79gQuantity: 304Designer: Andre Rivaud

In the spirit of sportsmanship, the front features an athlete helping his rival to rise. The back has sports equipment and a harp - a nod to the Cultural Olympiad.

Amsterdam 1928

1928 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 3mmDiameter: 55mmWeight: 66gQuantity: 254Designer: Giuseppe Cassioli

Florentine sculptor and painter Giuseppe Cassioli wins an IOC competition to design the medals and from 1928 to 1968, the basic design remains identical. The front shows victory goddess Nike, holding a winner's crown and a palm. The back: a winner carried by a crowd.

Los Angeles 1932

1932 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 5.7mmDiameter: 55.3mmWeight: 96gQuantity: --Designer: Giuseppe Cassioli

Florentine sculptor and painter Giuseppe Cassioli wins an IOC competition to design the medals and from 1928 to 1968, the basic design remains identical. The front shows victory goddess Nike, holding a winner's crown and a palm. The back: a winner carried by a crowd.

Berlin 1936

1936 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 5mmDiameter: 55mmWeight: 71gQuantity: 320Designer: Giuseppe Cassioli

Florentine sculptor and painter Giuseppe Cassioli won an IOC competition to design the medals and from 1928 to 1968, the basic design remains identical. The front shows victory goddess Nike, holding a winner's crown and a palm. The back: a winner carried by a crowd.

London 1948

1948 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 5.1mmDiameter: 51.4mmWeight: 60gQuantity: 300Designer: Giuseppe Cassioli

Florentine sculptor and painter Giuseppe Cassioli won an IOC competition to design the medals and from 1928 to 1968, the basic design remains identical. The front shows victory goddess Nike, holding a winner's crown and a palm. The back: a winner carried by a crowd.

Helsinki 1952

1952 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 4.8mmDiameter: 51mmWeight: 46.5gQuantity: 320Designer: Giuseppe Cassioli

Florentine sculptor and painter Giuseppe Cassioli won an IOC competition to design the medals and from 1928 to 1968, the basic design remains identical. The front shows victory goddess Nike, holding a winner's crown and a palm. The back: a winner carried by a crowd.

Melbourne 1956

1956 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 4.8mmDiameter: 51mmWeight: 68gQuantity: 280Designer: Giuseppe Cassioli

Florentine sculptor and painter Giuseppe Cassioli won an IOC competition to design the medals and from 1928 to 1968, the basic design remains identical. The front shows victory goddess Nike, holding a winner's crown and a palm. The back: a winner carried by a crowd.

Rome 1960

1960 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 6.5mmDiameter: 68mmWeight: 211gQuantity: --Designer: Giuseppe Cassioli

While the design remains the same, these medals are set in a bronze "laurel leaf" ring and chain. The front and back designs are swapped over.

Tokyo 1964

1964 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 7.5mmDiameter: 60mmWeight: 62gQuantity: 314Designer: Giuseppe Cassioli/Toshikaka Koshiba

Florentine sculptor and painter Giuseppe Cassioli won an IOC competition to design the medals and from 1928 to 1968, the basic design remains identical. The front shows victory goddess Nike, holding a winner's crown and a palm. The back: a winner carried by a crowd.

Mexico 1968

1968 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 6mmDiameter: 60mmWeight: 130gQuantity: --Designer: Giuseppe Cassioli

Florentine sculptor and painter Giuseppe Cassioli won an IOC competition to design the medals and from 1928 to 1968, the basic design remains identical. The front shows victory goddess Nike, holding a winner's crown and a palm. The back: a winner carried by a crowd.

Munich 1972

1972 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 6.5mmDiameter: 66mmWeight: 102gQuantity: 364Designer: Gerhard Marcks

For the first time in 44 years, Munich's organisers break from tradition on the back of the medal. Gerhard Marcks from the German Bauhaus design school depicts Castor and Pollux - the mythological twin sons of Leda who had different fathers: Spartan king Tyndareus and Zeus.

Montreal 1976

1976 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 5.8mmDiameter: 60mmWeight: 154gQuantity: 420Designer: Giuseppe Cassioli

The trend for a sparse design on the reverse of the medal continues with a simple laurel crown and the host city's Olympic emblem.

Moscow 1980

1980 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 6.8mmDiameter: 60mmWeight: 125gQuantity: --Designer: Giuseppe Cassioli/Ilya Postol

The idea of featuring the host city logo on the reverse continues, above a stylised representation of a stadium and Olympic flame and cauldron.

Los Angeles 1984

1984 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 7.9mmDiameter: 60mmWeight: 141gQuantity: --Designer: Giuseppe Cassioli

The medals return to Cassioli's design but were also worked on by American illustrator Dugald Stermer.

Seoul 1988

1988 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 7mmDiameter: 60mmWeight: 152gQuantity: 525Designer: Giuseppe Cassioli

Modernist again, with a dove carrying a laurel sprig and the Seoul Olympic logo - an ancient Korean Taegeuk symbol, like that on the national flag.

Barcelona 1992

1992 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 9.8mmDiameter: 70mmWeight: 231gQuantity: --Designer: Xavier Corbero

Spain's most famous living sculptor Xavier Corbero spruces up the figure of Nike for modern times and puts Barcelona's logo on the back - a blue head, invoking the Mediterranean sea; yellow, sunshine, open arms and leaping, red legs.

Atlanta 1996

1996 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 5mmDiameter: 70mmWeight: 181gQuantity: 637Designer: Malcolm Grear Designers

Back to a conservative Nike design. On the back is the Atlanta emblem of an Olympic flame and stars and a graphical laurel branch to mark the modern Olympics centennial year.

Sydney 2000

2000 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 5mmDiameter: 68mmWeight: 180gQuantity: --Designer: Wojciech Pietranik

The design stokes controversy, when critics point out the long-standing feature on the front of medals was not Greek, but a Roman coliseum. Australian coin designer Wojciech Pietranik put the Sydney Opera House and the Olympic torch on the reverse.

Athens 2004

2004 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 5mmDiameter: 60mmWeight: 135gQuantity: 1,130Designer: Elena Votsi

The Greeks went Greek, with a new depiction of Nike, flying into the 1896 Panathenaic stadium to bestow victory on the strongest, highest and fastest. Classic Greek lettering spells out the Olympic ode under the Athens logo.

Beijing 2008

2008 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 6mmDiameter: 70mmWeight: 200gQuantity: --Designer: Xiao Yong

The Greek goddess and stadium remain on the front. The coveted Chinese gemstone jade is inlaid into the back of each medal.

London 2012

2012 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 7mmDiameter: 85mmWeight: 400gQuantity: --Designer: David Watkins

The biggest Summer Olympics medals to date. Artist David Watkins says the key symbols on front and back juxtapose the goddess Nike, for the spirit and tradition of the Games, and the River Thames, for the city of London. On the back of the medals is the 2012 branding, representing the modern city as a jewel-like, geological growth. The logo is shown against a 'pick-up-sticks' grid which radiates the energy of athletes and a sense of pulling together. The River Thames runs through the middle as a celebratory ribbon. The bowl-like background recalls ancient amphitheatres, with a square balancing the circle to give a sense of place. The sport and discipline is engraved on the rim of each medal, all of which will be produced by the Royal Mint at Llantrisant, South Wales.

Chamonix 1924

1924 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 4mmDiameter: 55mmWeight: 75gQuantity: --Designer: Raoul Bernard

A skier stands in front of Mont Blanc with skis in one hand, skates in the other. Engraver Raoul Bernard put his name on the front, right.

St Moritz 1928

1928 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 3mmDiameter: 50.4mmWeight: 51gQuantity: 31Designer: Arnold Hunerwadel

Norwegian rising star Sonja Henie wins her first of three skating golds at this Olympics. Fittingly, the medal shows a skater spreading out her arms amid snowflakes.

Lake Placid 1932

1932 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 3mmDiameter: 55mmWeight: 51gQuantity: 35Designer: --

A busy scene with Nike appearing over the Adirondack Mountains; the Olympic stadium and ski jump below. The ripples on the edge represent the shape of ancient columns.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen 1936

1936 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 4mmDiameter: 100mmWeight: 324gQuantity: 36Designer: Richard Klein

Favoured Nazi medal-designer Richard Klein depicts Nike driving a horse-drawn chariot over a triumphal arch, with winter sporting equipment underneath.

St Moritz 1948

1948 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 3.8mmDiameter: 60.2mmWeight: 103gQuantity: 51Designer: Paul Andre Droz

Snowflakes return, with an ice-cream-shaped Olympic torch and the Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius - faster, higher, stronger.

Oslo 1952

1952 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 3mmDiameter: 70mmWeight: 137.5gQuantity: 48Designer: Vasos Falireus/Knut Yvan

The back features a pictogram of Oslo City Hall, the city's celebrated, blocky, landmark which opened less than two years earlier and was used as its Olympic emblem.

Cortina D'Ampezzo 1956

1956 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 3mmDiameter: 60.2mmWeight: 120.5gQuantity: 40Designer: Costanttino Affer

Milanese designer Constantino Affer crowns his 'ideal woman' design with Olympic rings and puts Mount Pomagagnon, which towers to the north of Cortina, under a snowflake on the back.

Squaw Valley 1960

1960 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 4.3mmDiameter: 55.3mmWeight: 95gQuantity: 60Designer: Jones Herff

The focus is on youthful competitors in this starker design. The space below the rings on the back is left blank for the sport's name.

Innsbruck 1964

1964 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 4mmDiameter: 72mmWeight: 110gQuantity: 61Designer: Arthur Zegler/Martha Coufal

Two designers each take a side. Martha Coufal puts the Torlauf Mountains on the front. On the back, Arthur Zegler entwines the Olympic rings with the city's emblem of a bridge over the river Inn.

Grenoble 1968

1968 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 3.3mmDiameter: 61mmWeight: 124gQuantity: 250Designer: Roger Excoffon

Typeface designer Roger Excoffon features a snowflake and red rose of Grenoble emblem on the front and a stylised pictogram of each sport on the reverse.

Sapporo 1972

1972 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 5mmDimensions: 57.3mm x 61.3mmWeight: 130gQuantity: 89Designer: Yagi Kazumi/Ikko Tanaka

The front depicts lines in the snow. On the back, graphic designer Ikko Tanaka - a founder of Muji stores - combines the traditional rising sun, a snowflake and the rings in a modern logo.

Innsbruck 1976

1976 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 5.4mmDiameter: 70mmWeight: 164gQuantity: 71Designer: Arthur Zegler/Martha Coufal

Martha Coufal, designing again, keeps the Innsbruck emblem and rings. The modernist reverse combines the Alps, the Bergisel ski area, and the Olympic flame.

Lake Placid 1980

1980 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 6.1mmDiameter: 81mmWeight: 205gQuantity: 73Designer: Tiffany & Co. New York

No laurel here, but a pine cone sprig. The Adirondack mountains are pictured on the front and evoked in the Lake Placid logo on the back.

Sarajevo 1984

1984 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 3.1mmDimensions: 71.1mm x 65.1mmWeight: 164gQuantity: 95Designer: Nebojsa Mitric

Nebojsa Mitric's highly-stylised design features the Games' snowflake emblem on the front and an athlete's head crowned with laurel on the back.

Calgary 1988

1988 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 5mmDiameter: 69mmWeight: 193gQuantity: 89Designer: Fridrich Peter

The First Nation person's headdress is made up of winter sports equipment. The snowflake and maple leaf-like emblem is formed of intertwining 'C's, for Calgary and Canada.

Albertville 1992

1992 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 9.1mmDiameter: 92mmWeight: 169gQuantity: 110Designer: Lalique

The first winter medals to use different materials: Lalique hand-made glass set in gold. The Olympic rings are pictured in front of mountains surrounding Albertville.

Lillehammer 1994

1994 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 8.5mmDiameter: 80mmWeight: 131gQuantity: --Designer: Ingjerd Hanevold

Ingjerd Hanevold chooses granite as the base material to reflect Norwegians' love of nature. She hopes the ski-man design is "humorous, sober and recognisable".

Nagano 1998

1998 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 8mmDiameter: 80mmWeight: 261gQuantity: --Designer: Kiso Kurashino/Kogei Museum

Traditional Kiso lacquer is used, sprinkled with gold and enamelled to make the designs. The 'snowflower' emblem of the Games shows athletes doing Olympic sports.

Salt Lake City 2002

2002 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 10mmDiameter: 85mmWeight: 567gQuantity: --Designer: Scott Given/Axiom Design

One of the heaviest medals, shaped like rocks in Utah's rivers. Designs differ on the back, where Nike embraces a competitor for each sport. Like the Salt Lake torch, they continue the theme of "light the fire within", with an athlete breaking through snow and rock.

Turin 2006

2006 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 10mmDiameter: 107mmWeight: 469gQuantity: --Designer: Dario Quatrini

The one with the hole; like an Olympic ring; representing the Italian piazza. Designed to draw attention to the place where the heart beats, as it hangs on an athlete's neck.

Vancouver 2010

2010 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC

Thickness: 6mmDiameter: 100mmWeight: 500-576gQuantity: --Designer: Corrine Hunt and Omer Arbel

Striking the medals nine times each gives them an undulating look, like the Vancouver landscape. Each unique medal incorporates a part of Corrine Hunt's mother artwork - an orca-inspired pattern. Recycled electronic waste is used to make the metal base material.

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