The Pierre de Coubertin Medal is harder to win than an Olympic gold medal and is awarded for outstanding sportsmanship at the Olympic Games. It has been awarded only a few times in history, with 26 recipients as of 2020. The stories surrounding the award are exemplary, including Canadian sailor Lawrence Lemieux who gave up his chances of victory to save the lives of a capsized Singapore team and German long jumper Luz Long who defied his Nazi hosts and made friendship with American Jesse Owens.
Here’s a tough question for all you sports fans: what’s harder to win than an Olympic gold medal?
Awarded only a handful of times in history, the answer is the Pierre de Coubertin Medal, an honor bestowed for outstanding sportsmanship at the Olympic Games. The medal, named after the founder of the International Olympic Committee, was first presented in 1964 to Eugenio Monti, an Italian bobsledder who gave his British rivals a bolt for their bobsled. They went on to win gold, while Monti took bronze and the coveted Pierre de Coubertin medal.
The stories surrounding the award are as exemplary as the athletes, ranging from Canadian sailor Lawrence Lemieux who gives up his chances of victory to save the lives of a capsized Singapore team to German long jumper Luz Long who defies his Nazi hosts and makes friendship with American Jesse Owens.
“You can melt all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn’t be a plating on the twenty-four-carat friendship I felt for Luz Long at the time,” Owens said of Long, who was posthumously awarded the medal. As of 2020, 26 people have been awarded the Pierre de Coubertin Medal.
Golden moments at the Olympics:
Four days after losing her mother to a heart attack, Canadian figure skater Joannie Rochette persevered and won bronze at the 2010 Olympics.
After years of animosity between their nations, North and South Korean teams marched together under a unified flag to open the 2000 Olympics.
At the 1992 Games, 400m favorite Derek Redmond tore his hamstring but finished the race after his father ran from the stands to help him walk.