11 Notable Medalists in the Olympic Art Competitions

Getty Images
Getty Images

Between 1912 and 1948, art competitions were a part of the Olympics. Medals were awarded for architecture, music, painting and sculpture. Here are some notable medalists in those categories.

1. Baron Pierre de Coubertin

The founder of the International Olympic Committee and the man responsible for reviving the Olympic art competitions won a gold medal in literature at the 1912 Games for his “Ode to Sport,” which was submitted under a pseudonym. Were the judges tipped off? We may never know.

2. Mahonri Young

Born 20 days before the death of his grandfather, Mormon leader Brigham Young, Mahonri won gold in the sculpture competition at the 1932 Los Angeles Games for his “Knockdown.”

3. Jack B. Yeats

The younger brother of Irish poet W.B. Yeats won the silver medal in painting at the 1924 Paris Games for his “Natation.”

4. Walter Winans

Winans was one of two people who won an Olympic medal in the arts and one in athletics, and the only person to do it in the same year. Winans, a United States citizen who lived in England, won the silver medal in the team running deer shooting competition and gold in sculpture for his bronze “An American Trotter” in 1912. Winans suffered a heart attack and died while driving a horse in a trotting race eight years later.

5. John Russell Pope

The architect of the Jefferson Memorial, the National Archives and the National Gallery of Art won a silver medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Games in architecture for his design of Yale’s Payne Whitney Gymnasium. Pope submitted an entry for the 1936 Games, but did not receive a medal or an honorable mention.

6. Alfred Hajos

The Hungarian won a pair of gold medals in freestyle swimming at the 1896 Athens Games. Nearly 30 years later, Hajos won silver in the architecture competition at the 1924 Paris Games for his design of the Budapest Swimming Center.

7. Percy Crosby

Crosby created the comic strip “Skippy,” which debuted in 1925, ran through 1945 and was published in 28 countries. During the height of his popularity, Crosby won a silver medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Games in the watercolors and drawings competition for his “Jackknife.” Crosby suffered from alcoholism later in life and in 1949 was admitted to New York’s Kings Park Psychiatric Center, where he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

8. Jean Jacoby

Jacoby, from Luxembourg, is the only artist to receive two gold medals in the Olympic art competitions. He won the gold for his painting “Etudes de Sport” at the 1924 Games and another gold four years later in Amsterdam for his drawing of rugby players. Jacoby earned honorable mentions in 1932 and 1936.

9. Aale Tynni

The Finnish poet was the only woman to win a gold medal in the Olympic art competitions. Tynni won the gold in 1948 for her poem “Hellaan Laakeri.”

10. John Copley

The 73-year-old British graphic artist was awarded the silver medal in the engravings and etchings competition at the 1948 Games for his “Polo Player.” Copley would be the oldest medalist in Olympic history if the International Olympic Committee still recognized medals from the art competitions.

11. A.W. Diggelmann

The Swiss graphic artist only submitted works in two Olympics, but he’s the only artist to win gold, silver and bronze medals, as well as an honorable mention.

This post originally appeared in 2012.

Simone Biles Just Became the Most Decorated Female Gymnast in History

Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0 br
Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0 br

Simone Biles became a household name when she won four gold medals in gymnastics at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Three years later, she has proven that she's still among the best in the sport's history. At the 2019 Gymnastics World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, Biles won her 21st world champ medal—making her the most decorated female gymnast of all time, The New York Times reports.

The U.S. women's team competed at the event in order to retain their title of best in the world. Biles racked up the highest individual scores with her vault, balance beam, and floor routines, helping the U.S. earn an overall score of 172.330 points. The team bested Russia, the second-place team, by 5.801 points and won their seventh consecutive gold at a world competition or Olympics.

Biles was previously tied with Svetlana Khorkina for most world championship medals held by a female gymnast. She now holds the record for the women's sport, and is just two medals shy of male gymnast Vitaly Scherbo's record of 23.

At 22, Simone Biles has already made a historic impact on the sport. In 2013, she had a difficult new floor exercise move named after her—a double layout with a 180-degree turn at the end.

[h/t The New York Times]

The New Tokyo 2020 Olympic Medals Are Made From Recycled Electronics

Tokyo 2020
Tokyo 2020

The Olympics have ancient roots, but Tokyo is finding ways to update the event in time for the summer games in 2020. The latest idea shared by the organizing committee may not be as flashy as an artificial meteor shower or as essential as modernized toilets, but it's no less innovative. As Engadget reports, all of the medals awarded at the 2020 Summer Olympics will be made from recycled electronics—and their designs have been unveiled to the public for the first time.

Many electronics contain precious metals like copper, silver, and gold—the same elements needed to make the Olympic medals. With hundreds of pounds of the materials destined to become e-waste in Japan each year, the Olympic committee came up with a plan to put some of it to good use.

In 2017, the Olympics organizers called upon Japanese residents to donate their old smartphones and other devices so they could be made into medals for the 2020 games. Over the past two years, the committee has collected 78,985 tons of donated electronics (including more than 6.2 million phones), and from that haul they've recovered approximately 70 pounds of gold, 7716 pounds of silver, and 4850 pounds of bronze, which was more than enough material to cast new medals for each Olympic event. You can get a peek at the design of the final products in the video below.

The 2020 Olympics will mark Tokyo's second time hosting the games (their first go was in 1964). By the time the games conclude next summer, organizers are expected to have spent $20 billion putting the event together.

[h/t Engadget]

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