Olympic Gold Medal Makeup

At the Ancient Olympic Games only one winner per event was crowned with kotinos, an olive wreath made of wild olive leaves from a sacred tree near the temple of Zeus at Olympia. Aristophanes in Plutus makes a remark why victorious athletes are crowned with wreath made of wild olive instead of gold. Herodotus describes a story that explains why there were only a few Greek men at the Battle of Thermopylae since “all other men were participating in the Olympic Games” and that the prize for the winner was “an olive-wreath”. When Tigranes, an Armenian general learned this, he uttered to his leader: “Good heavens! what kind of men are these against whom you have brought us to fight? Men who do not compete for possessions, but for honour”. Hence medals were not awarded at the ancient Olympic Games.