As it has been said before, 5 medals make it a five rings! The time for expanding the rewards for the Olympic games is long, long overdue. What are we waiting for? Maybe fourth can get a pewter, an alloy of tin, known to the ancients. And fifth can get the iron, reflective of the Iron Age?
Fourth and fifth place certainly deserve something for their fortitude and so close effort! They don't even have to stand on the podium or get their flags raised. But maybe they can stand on the flanking left and right sides? Also if it's a team sport then only one member of the team can stand by the podium. When the Olympics started in 1896 there weren't as many nations participating as their are today. In fact their were only 14 nations, now there are over 200 participating nations.
5 Olympic Rings match with 5 Olympic Medals
So what would the metals be made up of? It really does not matter but it would make sense to have them made up of the constituent elements of bronze. Thus fourth place gets copper while fifth place gets tin.
So that would make 6th place the unlucky duck who just missed out..... but not completely!
Another idea that would take focus away from the national obsession for trophies, is to give out awards to the best 24 competitors. Since the Games are based on Greek culture why not give out ring trophies to the top 24 competitors? Just wait till you hear how we would do this!
24 Olympic Achievement Rings based on the Greek Alphabet from Alpha to Omega, for the top 24 places.
First it will promote Greek Culture, and thus the world will become familiar with Greek letters. Second, we all enjoy the games because of the Greeks, it's the right thing to do to honor the Greeks. Finally all those athletes who sacrificed so much certainly deserve something.
Thus 1st place gets the Alpha ring, the 2nd place gets the Beta ring, 3rd gets a Gamma ring, 4th gets a Delta ring, and 5th gets an Epsilon ring in addition to their medals the receive already.
6th place to 24th would not get a medal but only rings of their respective position. 6th gets a ring with Eta on it while 24th position gets a ring with Omega on it. The person or team in 25th does not get a Greek Ring, but only a token participant ring.
Doing this is in the spirit of the games for community and healthy competition, and in respect to the Greeks who started these games. If this is done, people all over the world will eventually know the Greek Alphabet through osmosis (my favorite Greek word).
If they ever expand the medal reward system, why not also crown 1st place with a wreath of olives too? Apparently in the original Greek Games only the winner received this olive branch token. Medals for 1st let alone 2nd and 3rd were modern contrivances.
Besides, wearing an Olympic medal in public after the games are over is a wee bit ostentatious, no? But the athletes who placed in the top 24 positions can still strut their stuff and inspire others with "Official Place Position Olympic Rings."
The rings of fist five places should match their medal position. Thus 1st place gets a golden ring, 2nd a silver ring, 3rd a bronze ring, 4th a copper ring, and 5th a tin ring. Places 6th and below get a regular ring made out of a less expensive metal than tin or some alloy of it.
These men and women worked hard and sacrificed time, money, and certain aspects of their youth. They deserve something. If any of these ideas are adopted then former Olympic athletes can easily show others a humble memento and inspire.
They can keep the fire of the Olympics shining wherever they go.
Did you know that expanding the medal reward system has already happened for the modern Olympics? The first two Olympics at Athens & Paris only gave out official medals for first and second. And they did not give out any gold. Instead first place received a silver medal and second place got a bronze medal. If you placed third – you got nada.
It wasn’t until the first American Olympics in St. Louis that gold medals were handed out. So if you think we shouldn’t add medals for fourth or fifth just because it breaks with tradition – tradition has already been broken.
Furthermore, when you do the math on the ratio of prizes to participating nations the shift in numbers is staggering. During the first modern Olympics there were 14 participating nations competing for 2 medals (first and second). This leads to a 1 out of 7 chance of randomly winning a medal. Basically, if things were led to chance a nation had a 14% chance of winning a medal.* When they started handing out gold medals for first place at the St. Louis Olympics the ratio actually increased to about 1 to 4, because there were 3 medals to win for 12 participating nations (25% chance). Fast forward to the Rio-2016 Olympics with 206 participating nations – the ratio of winning a medal is about 1 to 69. In terms of a percentages that’s about a 1% chance of winning a medal.
Let’s say they expand to five medals for the top five places, the ratio changes to about 1 to 42, raising the chances of winning a medal a measly 2%. So if you are worried that giving fourth and fifth a medal will devalue 1st, 2nd or 3rd - is one percent a big fuss?
Now when you calculate the 24 ring-alphabet awards with 2016-Rio Olympic numbers the pure chance ratio of winning ring is about 1 to 8.5 – which is only 12%. Note 12% is a lot closer to the original ratio or percentage of the first modern Olympics at Athens.
So why not!? Think of all that hard work and sacrifice those athletes put into their training – the heartache, time, tears, sweat, and blood. Certainly they deserve a better shot at winning a medal or at least snatching a humble token of their dedication and fortitude. The time has come to expand the Olympic medal reward system.
An expanded idea for the Olympic rings is that all participants get a ring. If they place 24 or higher they get a Greek letter carved in it, if they place 5th or higher they get a medal. Athletes who place 25th or below get a ring with logo of the host nations choosing, perhaps the year, place, and logo. Thus all athletes get a ring, some will get the generic participant ring, some will get a Greek lettered ring, while a few will get a coveted gold, silver, bronze, copper, and tin ring.
Finally since the Olympic flag has five rings - five medals make a harmonious whole for the five 'official' continents. This idea is consistent with the official Olympic Creed:
"THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE OLYMPICS IS NOT TO WIN BUT TO TAKE PART, JUST AS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE IS NOT THE TRIUMPH BUT THE STRUGGLE. THE ESSENTIAL THING IS NOT TO HAVE CONQUEORED BUT TO HAVE FOUGHT WELL" -PIERRE DE COUBERTIN
Image Source Podium: https://www.rt.com/news/russia-figure-skating-win-770/