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Olympic Coins

1952 Finnish Olympic Coin and a Bronze Medal from the same Games in Helsinki

By Littleton Coin Company ………..
 

Let the games begin… the 2016 Summer Olympic games – held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Excitement for the games is building as Team USA’s roster is getting finalized, and for many competitors, the games are the pinnacle of their athletic achievement!

Missy Franklin wakes up at 6:30 am to swim a couple hours before moving on to dry land training and more swimming later in the afternoon. Runner Galen Rupp mixes sprints with one-on-one soccer drills and weight training. This is just part of an Olympic athlete’s normal day – albeit a long one. Olympians train for years, honing their skills, and in the end, a few hundredths of a second can be the difference between winning and losing.

Kerri Strug vaults to victory

Who can forget gymnast Kerri Strug’s triumph, winning gold at the 1996 Atlanta games on an injured ankle, or American diver Greg Louganis hitting his head on the diving board, getting stitches and, 30 minutes later, winning the qualifying round. The next day, he won the gold medal. For those of us who are “armchair athletes” watching the competition in Rio, coins make a great way to celebrate the Olympics and capture some “bronze” or “silver” for yourself.

First Olympics held over 2,500 years ago

An ancient Greek bronze coin struck by Philip II of Macedon (father to Alexander the Great) celebrates his horse’s victory in a race at the Olympics in 356 BCE. Other Greek coins highlight the javelin, discus, wrestling, running and many other sports. The Greeks held the games at Olympia every four years, beginning about 776 BCE. They continued on a regular basis until the advent of Christianity and the reign of Roman Emperor Theodosius. It would be centuries before they began again.

Finland strikes the first coins of the modern era

The modern Olympic games debuted in 1896 (halting only in 1916 for World War I and in 1940 & 1944 for World War II), and the world’s top athletes have competed against each other ever since.

But it wasn’t until 1951, for the 1952 Finnish games, that the first Olympic coins were issued. Since then, coins have been released fairly regularly. The first U.S. Olympic coin – a 90% silver dollar – was released in 1983 to commemorate the 1984 Los Angeles games.

From gymnastics to rowing and track & field, modern Olympic commemoratives feature a variety of designs and make a great way to show your support for your favorite sport. I’ll be watching track and field and swimming – what will you be watching?

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Littleton Coin Company is one of the nation’s leading suppliers of coins, paper money and collecting supplies. Since 1945, they have been making collecting fun and easy. For more information about the Littleton Coin Company or the Collector Stories Contest, visit www.littletoncoin.com
 


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