When Emil Zátopek, the Czech distance runner gave away one of his gold medals, he still had three other gold medals and a silver. Australian distance runner, Ron Clarke, a perennial gold-medalist-to-be, had to settle for a gold medal gifted to him, albeit from arguably the greatest distance runner ever.
Zátopek was not one for airs, and may have given all of his medals away if asked. But most Olympians would never part from their hard-won treasure.
And yet, when Olympians win medals at the Paris Olympics, they may have that opportunity.
The Paris Olympic Organizing Committee asked designer, Philippe Starck, to create the medals. Starck, who also designed the relay torch for the 1992 Albertville Winter Games, developed a medal that can be shared, literally. As you can see in the photos and the video, the medal is thicker than the traditional Olympic medal as three sections can be removed from it, each section a medal in its own right.
Presumably, the Olympian can keep the entire medal as is, or give the sections away, presumably to family members, strong supporters, sponsors, or close friends. The New York Times recently noted that this could be the way that coaches are finally recognized for their contributions to a victorious Olympian’s achievements as they do not receive medals.
“Today, more than ever, the truth is that you’re not winning alone, so I wanted this medal to reflect that,” said Starck. “If the winner wants to share it, they can share it.”
So at the Paris Olympics, most likely in the summer of 2024, Olympians can share their triumph in a way that is truly unique.