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When did the Medal Ceremony actually originate?


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This is something I've always wondered, because I have honestly found the concept behind medal ceremonies to be sort of counter-intuitive to the ideals of the Olympic movement. The idea of uniting the world together through sport....while at the same time raising national flags and playing in many cases, national calls to battle and war.

At first before doing any research, I assumed that the medal ceremony had its origins with the 1936 Berlin games, but I was wrong. The podium was introduced to the Olympics in the 1932 games in Los Angeles, (which in turn was introduced before in the 1930 British Empire Games in Hamilton) But what about the political nature of the medal ceremony with national anthems? That is what baffles me.

Finding a Harvard Crimson article from nearly one hundred years ago from the Paris Olympics in 1924 suggests that the flag raisings/anthems existed at this time as it does today.

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/1924/11/29/explains-booing-of-u-s-olympic/

While fans can be complete idiots at times, we always do wonder at situations like this if as the writer stated nearly 100 years ago, is if the booing is simply being a poor sport of not being able to accept defeat, or is it something more nefarious as being angry at the country. This situation arises in NHL games all the time, and I always wonder, especially in the NHL where nationality of the players is not even an issue, (every team could be considered a Canadian team so to speak) the occasional anthem booing incident during playoff time, is it being a poor sport, or is it a political statement. Remember, the Olympics are supposed to keep politics and sports apart, but national hymns, like Italy's "Let us join in a cohort, we are ready to die, we are ready to die, Italy has called" is further form the idea of a politics free sports event.

I'm just curious as to when national anthem playing actually started at the Olympics. As you can clearly see, I am not a fan of the nationalism side of the Olympics whatsoever.

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While fans can be complete idiots at times, we always do wonder at situations like this if as the writer stated nearly 100 years ago, is if the booing is simply being a poor sport of not being able to accept defeat, or is it something more nefarious as being angry at the country. This situation arises in NHL games all the time, and I always wonder, especially in the NHL where nationality of the players is not even an issue, (every team could be considered a Canadian team so to speak) the occasional anthem booing incident during playoff time, is it being a poor sport, or is it a political statement. Remember, the Olympics are supposed to keep politics and sports apart, but national hymns, like Italy's "Let us join in a cohort, we are ready to die, we are ready to die, Italy has called" is further form the idea of a politics free sports event.

An example could be how, in the past two Eurovision Song Contests, the Russian performers were booed before and after their performance and (more often in 2014) when they received top points of any kind. I don't think this booing happened because the other people in the Arena from all over Europe were sore losers, in fact in 2014 when they got booed the most Russia was not on top of the board. So yes, I think that any booing during a medal ceremony is always due to political issues. I think anyone would see it as a sort of faux pas if you were to boo just because you lost. Imagine the silver and bronze medalists booing!

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So you think the Olympics should adapt from the Universiade which replaced the national anthem with the FISU anthem? I think I will bored to hear the Olympic anthem in every single Olympic medal ceremony... Besides considering today's Olympics is based on national pride I think if you remove it that will invite anger from around the world...

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The present gold-silver-bronze medals were introduced at St. Louis 1904.

First known use of national anthems was at least at Antwerp 1920 (when the band played "O Sole Mio" for the Italian gold medal ceremonies in Fencing because the organizers had not supplied the band with the proper sheet music for "Tre Fratelli").

Medal podia were introduced at Lake Placid 1932.

The current order of Bronze - SIlver - then Gold medal presentation was introduced at Salt Lake 2002. It took a century for the IOC to accept the reverse order (which was the European way).

The ISOH (Int'l Society of Olympic Historians) Journal contains a lot of articles documenting a lot of this arcane trivia.

Edited by baron-pierreIV
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