Olympic gold medals were made entirely of gold

Olympic 1912: When was the last time Olympic gold medals were made entirely of gold

The last time Olympic gold medals were made entirely of gold was in 1912. Since then, gold medals have been mostly made of silver, with a gold plating.

The Evolution of Olympic Gold: From Pure Gold to Symbolic Plating

In the illustrious history of the Olympic Games, the coveted gold medal has always held a special place of honor. Yet, what many might not realize is that the composition of these iconic prizes has undergone a significant transformation over the years.

Once crafted entirely of pure gold, Olympic gold medals have evolved into a symbol of achievement adorned with a mere plating of the precious metal.

The Last One

The last time Olympic gold medals were made entirely of gold dates back to the 1912 Stockholm Games. In an era where the value of gold was more practical, these medals were a tangible representation of victory, symbolizing the pinnacle of athletic excellence.


The primary reason for moving away from solid gold medals was the exorbitant cost associated with their production. With the price of gold rising steadily over the decades, crafting medals solely from this precious metal became economically unfeasible.


Olympic organizers sought alternatives that would preserve the tradition and symbolism of the gold medal while making it more financially viable.

  • The solution came in the form of a base metal, typically silver, coated with a thin layer of gold.
  • This not only reduced the cost of production but also allowed for greater flexibility in design and customization.
  • The shift towards gold-plated medals did not diminish their significance in the eyes of athletes and spectators.
  • The Olympic gold medal remains a universal symbol of excellence, determination, and triumph.

1912 Medal Winners

here’s a table listing some notable award winners from various events at the 1912 Olympics:

EventGold MedalistCountry
AthleticsJim ThorpeUSA
SwimmingDuke KahanamokuUSA
GymnasticsAlberto BragliaItaly
TennisCharles WinslowSouth Africa
TennisMarguerite BroquedisFrance
ShootingAlfred SwahnSweden
WrestlingGustaf MalmströmSweden
WrestlingClaes JohansonSweden
BoxingFrank GotchUSA
BoxingEdward EaganUSA
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