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Thursday, 28 April 2016


The first known instance of a medal being awarded comes from the historian Josephus. Writing long after the event, he recorded that in the fourth century BC, the High Priest Jonathan led the Hebrews in aid of Alexander the Great, and that in return for this, Alexander "...sent to Jonathan... honorary awards, as a golden button, which it is custom to give the king's kinsmen."

President Lincoln created the U.S. Army Medal of Honor, the highest American military honor. on July 12, 1862.

A silver medal was awarded to the winner of each event during the first modern summer Olympics in 1896.

1896 Olympic medals
The 1912 Olympics was the last time that gold medals were actually solid gold.

William Donovan, the wartime head of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the Central Intelligence Agency, during World War II is the only person to have received all four of the United States' highest awards. A decorated veteran of World War I, Donovan was awarded  The Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the National Security Medal.

Medal of Honor recipients are entitled to much more than the medal including a $1,300 monthly bonus, 10% retirement raise and may wear their uniform even after they are out of the service.

The most decorated American unit in history is the 442nd Infantry Regiment, which was almost entirely made up of Japanese Americans. Out of the 14,000 who served, 9,486 earned the Purple Heart and 21 earned the Medal of Honor. The unit itself was awarded eight residential Unit Citations.

All of the bronze medals from the Sydney Olympics in 2000 were made from melted one-cent coins that Australia had pulled out of circulation.

An Olympic gold medal from the 2016 Rio Olympics would be worth around $600 (£450) as scrap — it is made of silver which is gold-plated.  An Olympic silver medal contains 500g of silver and, melted down, would be worth $310 (£236) — while a bronze would be worth just £4 ($3), as it is made of brass.

Paralympic medals from the Rio Olympics rattle. They emit a different sound depending whether its bronze, silver or gold to help blind athletes.

Christie Rampone, three-time gold medalist in U.S. women's soccer, keeps her Olympic medals in her pots and pans in the kitchen.

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