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Composition: Bronze
Shape / Size: Round
Weight: 58 grams
Edge: Plain
Mintage: 20,000
Designer: N. Lytras


Although the medal was gifted to the athletes and officials, the original mintage was quite high to accommodate sales to the general public as well. The beautiful obverse design depicts the goddess, Nike, with an outstretched hand holding a laurel crown (symbol of victory in the ancient games. Below the goddess' arm is an image of the mythical bird, Phoenix, emerging from its ashes, symbolizing the rebirth of the Olympic Games. In the background is the Acropolis. The reverse displays Greek wording and the date, 1896, surrounded by a laurel wreath along its periphery.


The revival of the ancient Olympics attracted athletes from 14 nations, with the largest delegations coming from Greece, Germany and France. On April 6, 1896, the American James Connolly won the triple jump to become the first Olympic champion in more than 1500 years. Winners were awarded a silver medal and a crown of olive branches. The German athlete Karl Schumann finished in the top four in four different events. The people of Athens greeted the Games with great enthusiasm. Their support was rewarded when a Greek shepherd, Spiridon Louis, won the most popular event, the marathon.

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