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The Olympic Medals
Olympic medals are awarded to those individuals or teams placing first, second, and third in each event. The first place winner is bestowed a gold-plated medal of silver, which is commonly referred to as the "gold medal." Second and third places receive medals of silver and bronze. The silver used in the first and second place medals must be at least 92.5% pure. The "gold" medals must be gilded with at least six grams of pure gold. Medals also carry the name of the sport contested. All competitors receive a diploma and commemorative medals for their participation in the Olympic Games.
The front sides of the medals awarded at the Games of the Olympiads feature an image of a Hellenic goddess holding a laurel wreath with the Athens Colosseum in the background. Since 1972, local Olympic organizing committees have been allowed to create a design for the back sides of the medals.
The medals given at the Olympic Winter Games, by tradition, differ from the traditional medals given at the Summer Games. Each Organizing Committee designs its own medals that must be approved by the IOC. The 1998 Nagano Games medals, for example, combined traditional Japanese arts of lacquering, cloisonne and engraving to create medals incorporating the concept of "Games from the Heart --Together With Love." The medals were desigend to be an expression of Japan and of Nagano. The emblem of the Games lies at the center of the medals.