How Have Winter Olympic Medals Evolved Over Time? (Winter Olympic Medal Index)

Across 24 editions of the Winter Olympic Games, the medal has risen to become a symbol of the highest achievement in sport. First introduced for the first edition of the modern Olympic Games in 1896, the Olympic medal has a longstanding tradition associated with it. 

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Unlike Summer Olympic Medals, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has fewer regulations on the design of Winter Olympic Medals. While medals for the Summer Olympic Games must be made of certain materials, have a set diameter and thickness, and be circular, the IOC currently does not have any such restrictions on medals for the Winter Olympics. As a result, medals for the Winter Olympics have traditionally been more varied in design than those for the Summer Olympics. 

For the first edition of the Winter Olympics in 1924, the medals did not even feature the Olympic logo, instead having an image of a skier on one side and information about the Games on the other. In fact, the rings were not featured on the Winter Olympic Medals until the 1936 Winter Olympic Games in Germany. The medals for both the 1972 Winter Olympics and the 1984 Winter Olympics were notably square-shaped, differing from the traditional circular-shaped medals presented at the Games. The medals for the 1992 Winter Olympic Games were the first to feature the use of glass in the design, with the glass designed to highlight the Olympic Rings alongside mountains. Following this trend, the medals for the 1994 Games used Sparagmite to depict the Olympic Rings and the medals for the 1998 Games used lacquer in their design. Notably, the medals for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games were the first to feature writing on the edges of the medal, as the words  “Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018” were written out in both English and Korean on the edges. 

Winter Olympic Medals Index: 

Year Location Medals (front/back) via IOC
Chamonix, France
Sport - Wikipedia | Olympic medals, Winter olympics, 1924 winter olympics
St. Moritz, Switzerland
Lot Detail - Bronze Olympic Medal From the 1928 Winter Olympics, Held in St. Moritz, Switzerland
Lake Placid, New York
The 1932 Winter Olympics - Godfrey Dewey - Hamilton College
Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany
Sport - Wikipedia | Olympic medals, Winter olympics, Olympic games
San Moritz, Switzerland
Rare St Moritz 1948 gold medal features in Olympic memorabilia auction
1952 Oslo, Norway 1952 Oslo Gold, Silver, Bronze Medals | Medals, Olympics, Olympic games
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy
How much it will take to buy an Olympic gold medal
Squaw Valley, California
Squaw Valley Winter Olympics Participation Medal | Winter olympics, Olympics, Squaw valley
Innsbruck, Austria
Innsbruck Winter Olympics Gold Medal for Ice Hockey - 1964 | HockeyGods
Grenoble, France
1968 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC
1972 Sapporo, Japan 1972 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC
Innsbruck, Austria
1976 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC
Lake Placid, New York
1980 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC
Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
1984 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC
Calgary, Canada
1988 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC
Albertville, France
1992 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC
Lillehammer, Norway
Medal memories: Looking back at medal designs from the Olympic Winter Games - Team Canada - Official Olympic Team Website
1998 Nagano, Japan 1998 Nagano Gold, Silver, Bronze Medals | Olympics, Olympic medals, Nagano
Salt Lake City, Utah
2002 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC
2006 Torino, Italy 2006 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC
Vancouver, Canada
2010 olympic medal. Image courtesy of IOC
2014 Sochi, Russia Olympic Medals from 1896 to 2014 | Olympic medals, Winter olympics, Sochi
Pyeongchang, South Korea
2022 Bejing, China Beijing 2022: Medal designs for Olympic and Paralympic Games unveiled

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Walter Sobchak
2 months ago

Nice. A lot more variety in shapes and materials compared to the “sacrosanct” Summer Games.

I especially liked the 1992 Albertville and 2006 Torino medal designs.

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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