11 Notable Medalists in the Olympic Art Competitions

filed under: olympics

Between 1912 and 1948, art competitions were a part of the Olympics. Medals were awarded for architecture, music, painting and sculpture. Here are some notable medalists in those categories.

1. Baron Pierre de Coubertin

The founder of the International Olympic Committee and the man responsible for reviving the Olympic art competitions won a gold medal in literature at the 1912 Games for his “Ode to Sport,” which was submitted under a pseudonym. Were the judges tipped off? We may never know.

2. Mahonri Young

Born 20 days before the death of his grandfather, Mormon leader Brigham Young, Mahonri won gold in the sculpture competition at the 1932 Los Angeles Games for his “Knockdown.”

3. Jack B. Yeats

The younger brother of Irish poet W.B. Yeats won the silver medal in painting at the 1924 Paris Games for his “Natation.”

4. Walter Winans

Winans was one of two people who won an Olympic medal in the arts and one in athletics, and the only person to do it in the same year. Winans, a United States citizen who lived in England, won the silver medal in the team running deer shooting competition and gold in sculpture for his bronze “An American Trotter” in 1912. Winans suffered a heart attack and died while driving a horse in a trotting race eight years later.

5. John Russell Pope

The architect of the Jefferson Memorial, the National Archives and the National Gallery of Art won a silver medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Games in architecture for his design of Yale’s Payne Whitney Gymnasium. Pope submitted an entry for the 1936 Games, but did not receive a medal or an honorable mention.

6. Alfred Hajos

The Hungarian won a pair of gold medals in freestyle swimming at the 1896 Athens Games. Nearly 30 years later, Hajos won silver in the architecture competition at the 1924 Paris Games for his design of the Budapest Swimming Center.

7. Percy Crosby

Crosby created the comic strip “Skippy,” which debuted in 1925, ran through 1945 and was published in 28 countries. During the height of his popularity, Crosby won a silver medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Games in the watercolors and drawings competition for his “Jackknife.” Crosby suffered from alcoholism later in life and in 1949 was admitted to New York’s Kings Park Psychiatric Center, where he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

8. Jean Jacoby

Jacoby, from Luxembourg, is the only artist to receive two gold medals in the Olympic art competitions. He won the gold for his painting “Etudes de Sport” at the 1924 Games and another gold four years later in Amsterdam for his drawing of rugby players. Jacoby earned honorable mentions in 1932 and 1936.

9. Aale Tynni

The Finnish poet was the only woman to win a gold medal in the Olympic art competitions. Tynni won the gold in 1948 for her poem “Hellaan Laakeri.”

10. John Copley

The 73-year-old British graphic artist was awarded the silver medal in the engravings and etchings competition at the 1948 Games for his “Polo Player.” Copley would be the oldest medalist in Olympic history if the International Olympic Committee still recognized medals from the art competitions.

11. A.W. Diggelmann

The Swiss graphic artist only submitted works in two Olympics, but he’s the only artist to win gold, silver and bronze medals, as well as an honorable mention.

This post originally appeared in 2012.

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February 6, 2014 - 1:23pm
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