Olympic Games 1972 Munich

20th Olympiad


Sports: 23

Events: 193

National Teams: 121

Participants: 7,113

Winner Medals

Olympic winner medal 1972        Olympic winner medal 1972

1st Place: Gold Medal Material: Gilt Silver
Weight 161 gr
2nd Place: Silver Medal Material: Silver
Weight 150 gr
3rd Place: Bronze Medal Material: Bronze
Weight 130 gr
Diameter: 66 mm Design by: Gerhard Marcks
    Mint: Bavarian Mint
Thickness: 4 mm Ribbon: Chain, 52 gr
Obverse: Victory seated above stadium.
Reverse: Romean twins Castor and Pollux, patrons of competitive sport and friendship, artist`s initial below.
Note: The name of the winner and of sport discipline are engraved on the edge a few minutes after the competition..
Numbers of Medals: Gold:     364                    Silver:   364                        Bronze:   381

   The Medals 1972

The IOC Statutes describe the prizes awarded.
"A gold medal and certificate will be awarded as first prize, a silver medal and certificate as second prize and a bronze medal and certificate as third prize. The medals must carry the name of the event for which they are awarded. They must be fastened to a chain or ribbon so that they can be hung on the winners. For fourth, fifth and sixth prizes only certificates and no medals will be awarded. In the event of ties, all receive a medal and certificate. The medals must have a diameter of at least 60 mm. and must be 3 mm. thick. The medals for first and second place must be of silver with a minimum purity of 925/000 and the first place medals must be plated with at least six grams of gold."

With respect to the size and weight of the medals, the IOC only specified minimum requirements. The OC exceeded the minimal diameter by 6 mm. and the thickness by  2 mm. The gold medal weighed 175 g., the silver one 169 g., and the bronze one 140 g.

(But the real weight of the winner medals are 161 gr, 150 gr and 130 gr)

After the victorys ceremony:
Mark Spitz, Jerry Heidenreich, David Edgar and John Murphy

The OC needed 364 gold medals, 364 silver medals and 381 bronze medals, totaling 1,109 medals. In addition, it needed sufficient reserve medals for the unforeseeable event of multiple winners in the first three places. Three firms donated the material. The Bavarian Mint coined the medals gratis. Since 1928 the medals carried the same motif. In 1972 the goddess of victory was to grace the front of the medals together with the inscription "XX. Olympiade München 1972". Several artists submitted designs in a selective internal competition. The OC chose the design by Gerhard Marcks, one of the last surviving masters of Bauhaus. He chose Castor and Pollux, the patrons of competitive sports and friendship, as his motif and depicted them as naked youths.

For the first time at Olympic Games chains replaced the usual ribbon which too easily became wrinkled and soiled. The chains were 90 cm. long, the links were made of 1.5 mm. thick brass material, and passed through a ring screwed onto the medal. According to the color of the medal, they were either bronze, silver or gold plated. The IOC approved the intended appearance of the medals in February, 1972 in Sapporo.

In addition the IOC agreed that the winner's full name and nationality should be engraved in the free space on the back of the medal. Within two years, a specialized company solved the technical problems whereby the engraving could be done in the short time between the announcement of the final results and the beginning of the victors' celebration. The medals were engraved in mobile workshops, that is, in five large buses, each equipped with three engraving machines with the usual technical facilities and radio. Their work was regulated minutely. Parking places next to the contest sites were reserved for them and equipped with electrical outlets supplying 5 kW.

Producing the medals was complicated. The donor firms supplied the metal. The entire quantity of silver was formed into blanks in Switzerland. Later it was stamped in the main mint in Munich. The 364 silver medals were sent back to Switzerland for gold plating. The 730 brass chains, which were manufactured in the Federal Republic of Germany and had to be either gold or silver plated, were also sent to Switzerland. The OC had the names of the various sports and events engraved on all the medals in Munich.

The winners received gold, silver or bronze lapel pins in addition to the medals. The IOC had not officially asked for them but it had become usual since the last Olympic Games. They were square and decorated with the Olympic emblem.

(Source document:  Official Report 1972, Vol. I., page 86)

winner medal 1972
winner medal 1972

Winnermedal in case

Medal case

winner medal 1972
winner medal 1972

Winnermedal with chain

Medal case with slipcase

Images Copyright © Torsten Weick


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