When athletes participate in the Olympics, they join others from all over the world to celebrate the spirit of friendly competition. The winning athletes of each event are given Olympic medals, special awards attached to ribbon so they can be worn with pride as necklaces. Thousands of medals are handed out at each Olympic Games!
Medals are different colors depending on the victory of the athletes: gold for first place, silver for second and bronze for third. A variety of materials (including glass) have been used to create the medals, but metal is a major ingredient. For example, gold medals are often crafted of silver, with a layer of 24-karat gold on the outside.
Both sides of an Olympic medal feature designs. Over the years, these medals have taken a variety of shapes, especially the medals of the Winter Olympic Games. Often round, they have even been square-, blob- and doughnut-shaped!