Can I buy an olympic medal?

1 - Can an athlete sell an Olympic medal, say on ebay?

2 - Do all Olympic medals look the same, or does the synchronized diving medal look different from the basketball medal?

3 - Anyone know where I can get a picture of what the medals look like?

I believe I’ve heard of Olympians having to sell their medals years later to avoid bankruptcy or pay for a liver transplant or that sort of thing.

I know each Olympics has a different medal design - the 2000 medals look different from the 2004 medals. I’m fairly certain each event has a different design. At least, that’s how they usually do it. I can’t say for certain that Athens is doing it that way, but I don’t know why they wouldn’t.

The medals are supposed to look a bit different this year. It used to be that one side pretty much looked the same each time, but that was abandoned for the Sydney games.

The medals do not have the name of the winner on them, just the event. This makes it easier if you are caught doping and you have to give it back.

Would you want to carry around a gold medal that said “Ben Johnson” on it?

Obverse of the Athens medals in gold, silver and bronze.

Click on MEDAL to see larger images of the obverse and the reverse.

I found one currently on auction on eBay for $1,575.00 as of this posting. AUTHENTIC OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL 1992 BARCELONA.

A Polish winner in Athens - I can’t remember who - has just announced that she will auction her gold medal for charity. Presumably others have done something like this occasionally. And still others sell their medals for cash for themselves, or their heirs do.

So medals do come on the market from time to time. It’s a small market, but it exists. Here’s a link to a newspaper story about it: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/news/archive/2004/07/13/sports1625EDT0248.DTL

It suggests that prices start from about US$1,500, but can go north of US$20,000.

That Barcelona medal doesn’t look right. Compare it to this. The eBay pictures look like the medal has been welded to the larger base and it looks off-center.