The Rundown: 5 Wacky Things Olympians Have Done With Their Medals

You’re on the medal stand at the Olympics claiming your hard earned medal. The anthem has been sung and the party’s over, now what do you do with your medal? If you’re Michael Phelps, you wear one every day for the month of February and you’ll never have to wear the same one twice.

What would you do with your Olympic medal if you won?

My precious,

The Last Night’s Game Team

PS – Many athletes sell their medals to simply pay the bills. For more about why they’re not rolling in the dough, check out our Stilettos on the Glass Ceiling article on “Why Olympians Can't Quit Their Day Jobs.”

Five wacky things Olympians have done with their medals

  1. Team U.S.A. Women’s Soccer player Christie Rampone keeps her medals in her pots and pans. Her rationale? Who’s going to look there? They will now.
  2. U.S.A. men’s basketball won a disappointing bronze medal at the 2004 Olympic games in Atlanta. Unhappy with the teams’ performance, Carmelo Anthony gave his bronze medal to a family member who auctioned it off for $14,000.
  3. Sprinter Carl Lewis put his 1987 medal in his father’s casket at his funeral. He told his mom that he was going to go back and get another one. And he did.   
  4. Ukrainian boxer Wladimir Klitschko sold his medal from the 1996 Olympics for a reported $1 million with the proceeds going to a children’s charity he started with his brother.   
  5. And who wouldn’t think to look there? Other honorable mentions go to a school locker, their agent’s house, in the nightstand and in the nail polish drawer. Then there’s the always popular sock drawer which is where a slew of Olympic athletes store their medals including Apolo Ohno, Natalie Coughlin, Mary Lou Retton and Sue Bird.

Summer Olympics

  • Tough break. Beach volleyball sensation Kerri Walsh Jennings suffered her first ever Olympic loss last night - she was previously 26-0. Walsh Jennings and her partner, April Ross, lost in the semifinals to a gritty but good Brazilian team. The women will now battle the other Brazilian team for bronze tonight.  
  • A dream come true. Simone Biles won her fifth medal of the Rio Olympics, (four gold and one bronze). Biles then received the shock of her life, something better than a medal; she met her crush actor Zac Efron. Biles admitted earlier in the Olympics that she has a life-size cutout of Efron in her room. She may be invincible in the Olympic arena, but she’s still a 19-year-old girl.
  • Let’s get down. Allyson Felix became the winningest track and field athlete in U.S.A. history with seven medals. Felix brought home a silver in the 400m when she lost out on the gold in a photo finish, losing to Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller who dove across the finish line to win.
  • A different kind of medal. U.S.A. triple jumper Will Claye won the silver medal and then jumped into the stands and proposed to his hurdler girlfriend to make it “the best day of his life.” Marriage proposals have been dominating the headlines of the Olympics where everyone is handing out the hardware. 


  • Boys will be boys. Kansas City Royals (baseball) found a praying mantis in their dugout which they dubbed the #RallyMantis. The bug became a good luck charm, “guiding” the team on a 5-1 streak. Unfortunately, it was a bug and not a Jedi and it died. (Insert crying emoji here). As luck would have it, on Monday night another praying mantis appeared in the Royals dugout and it guided them to a win that night.

Sideline stat

  • U.S.A. women’s gymnastics captain, affectionately known as "Grandma" by her teammates, 22-year-old Aly Raisman has won three medals in Rio which makes her the second-most-decorated U.S. Olympic gymnast of all time, one behind Shannon Miller.

Coaches’ Corner

  • Today’s coaches’ corner is brought to you by a double dose of sportsmanship:
  1. American Abbey D’Agostino trained her entire life to run the 5,000m race in the Olympics. During her race, New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin tripped and then D’Agostina stumbled over her, injuring her knee. D'Agostino helped Hamblin up and while not in a position to win, they finished the race.
  2. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt is one of the most popular athletes at the Games but during a post-race interview we saw what kind of person he really is. Bolt paused his chat to honor the playing the U.S.A. national anthem. Respect.