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Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame 10th Induction Class

On June 6th the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame held a Press Conference at the Society Hill Sheraton in Philadelphia to announce Class X inductees to the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.

The seventeen new inductees bring the total number of Inductees to 152! They come from 14 different sports at the professional, collegiate, and scholastic level as well as 14 Legacy of Excellence inductees that consist of radio & TV broadcasters, sportswriters, authors, and other contributors both local & national.

This years inductees include former Phillies player Greg Luzinski a member of the 1980 world Series Championship team, Linda Page a local high school All-American basketball player while attending Dobbins Tech, and Joe Hand Sr.(Legacy of Excellence) a local Boxing promoter who helped guide Joe Frazier to the Heavyweight Championship and pioneered closed-circuit sporting events.

The Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame is an all volunteer non-profit corporation founded in May 2002. Recently opening up its first public display gallery, at Spike’s Trophies, fans can go view the Preview Gallery Saturdays and during the week by appointment. The Gallery showcases items that represent Philadelphia History such as pieces of the original Palestra floor, a jersey worn by Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik, and a complete set of 1930 World Series Tickets.  Some exhibits will rotate throughout the year to showcase different athletes from the area’s sports history.

Come check it out at:

Spike’s Trophies:

2701 Grant Ave

Philadelphia PA 19112

Saturdays 9am-1pm or make an appointment by calling 215.923.5121
Inductee Class X

Famous Awards – The Championships, Wimbledon

When it comes to eminence and esteem, it doesn’t get any classier than the Wimbledon Championships for the sport of tennis….


 Players from all over the world compete in the only grass court Grand Slam, for the rights to hold the silver gilt trophy and the sterling silver salver.   Since it started in 1877, The Championships, Wimbledon, commonly referred to as simply Wimbledon, is the oldest major championship in the sport of tennis and is widely considered to be the most prestigious.

The Gentlemen’s Singles champion receives a silver gilt cup 18.5 inches (about 47 cm) in height and 7.5 inches (about 19 cm) in diameter. The Cup has a classical style with two handles and a raised foot. The lid is formed with a pineapple on top and a head covered with a winged helmet beneath each handle. There are two decorative borders with floral work and oval styled moldings on the bowl of the Cup and on the handles. Since 1949, all champions have received a miniature replica of the trophy (height 8 ½-inches) to take with them. The trophy has been awarded since 1887 and bears the inscription: “The All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Champion of the World.”

The Ladies’ Singles champion receives a sterling silver salver commonly known as the “Venus Rosewater Dish”, or simply the “Rosewater Dish”. The salver, which is 18.75 inches (about 48 cm) in diameter, is decorated with figures from mythology.  The original 50 guineas ( somewhere close to $150) trophy was made in 1864 by Messrs. Elkington and Co. Ltd of Birmingham and is a copy of an electrotype by Caspar Enderlein from the pewter original in the Louvre.  There is a central design surrounded by four reserves, spread out to the rim.  The remainder of the tray’s surface is decorated with gilt renaissance designs and foliate motifs in relief against a rigid silver ground.  The theme of the decoration is mythological.  The central figure of Temperance, seated on a chest with a lamp in her right hand and a jug in her left, with various attributes such as a sickle, fork and caduceus around her.  The four reserves on the sides of the dish each contain a classical god, together with elements. The reserves around the rim show Minerva presiding over the seven Liberal Arts: Astrology, Geometry, Arithmetic, Music, Rhetoric, Dialectic and Grammar, each with relevant attribute.  The rim of the tray has an oval molding, much like The Cup. And again, beginning in 1949 all champions has received a miniature replica of the trophy (diameter 8 inches) for their personal collection.

The winners of the Gentlemen’s Doubles, Ladies’ Doubles, and Mixed Doubles events receive silver cups. The runner-up in each event receives an inscribed silver plate.  The trophies are usually presented by the President of the All England Club, The Duke of Kent, and by his wife, the Duchess of Kent.

At Wimbledon, more prize money was traditionally awarded in the Gentlemen’s events than in the Ladies’ events. However, as of 2007 prize money is equal at all levels (in part in response to a powerful protest by tennis player Venus Williams).[4] This makes Wimbledon policy identical to that of the Australian Open, US Open, and most recently the French Open.

Held annually between late June and the beginning of July[2] for two weeks (usually ending, at the latest, on the second Sunday of July) at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London, England, the tournament is the third Grand Slam event played each year, preceded by the Australian Open and the French Open, and followed by the U.S. Open.  The tournament duration is subject to extensions for rain.

Separate tournaments are simultaneously held, all at the same venue, for Gentlemen’s Singles, Ladies’ Singles, Gentlemen’s Doubles, Ladies’ Doubles and Mixed Doubles. Youth tournaments – Boys’ Singles, Girls’ Singles, Boys’ Doubles and Girls’ Doubles – are also held. Additionally, special invitational tournaments are held: the 35 and over Gentlemen’s Doubles, 45 and over Gentlemen’s Doubles, 35 and over Ladies’ Doubles and wheelchair doubles.

The Championships were first played under the control of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in 1877 at a ground near Worple Road, Wimbledon; the only event held was Gentlemen’s Singles. In 1884, the All England Club added Ladies’ Singles and Gentlemen’s Doubles. Ladies’ Doubles and Mixed Doubles were added in 1913. The Championships moved to their present location, at a ground near Church Road, in 1922. As with the other three Grand Slam events, Wimbledon was contested by top-ranked amateur players until the advent of the open era in tennis in 1968. Britons are very proud of the tournament but it is a source of national anguish and humour — no British man has won the singles event at Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936, and no British woman since Virginia Wade in 1977. The Championship was first televised in 1937. For the fans who do attend, it is customary to nosh on strawberries and cream.

The Stanley Cup

With the end of the hockey season coming to a close I thought it a good time to look into the famous award associated with this sport. Following are a few fun facts about the award that represents the pinnacle of the National Hockey Leagues’ success:


Height: 35-1/4 inches
Weight: 34-1/2 pounds
Material: Silver-nickel alloy
Cost: $75,000

The Stanley Cup ….

…is the oldest trophy competed for by professional athletes
… was crafted in Sheffield, England
… was purchased for 10 guineas ($48.67 at the time) in 1892
… Logged more than 400,000 miles in travel during the past five seasons
… has each winning player and team management member take the Cup home for a day to share with family and friends
… has misspells on the Cup that never have been corrected: Jacques Plante’s name has been misspelled five times, (incl. “Jocko,” “Jack” and “Plant”); Bob Gainey was spelled “Gainy” when he was a player for Montreal in the 70s; Ted Kennedy was spelled “Kennedyy” in the 40s; New York Islanders was spelled “Ilanders” in 1980/81; the Toronto Maple Leafs was spelled “Leaes” in 1962/63; the Boston Bruins was spelled “Bqstqn” in 1972.

The Stanley Cup is a Silver bowl atop plinth, engraved with all past winners. Plinth is extended as required. First named the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. First contested in 1894. The original bowl was retired in 1969 because it was brittle. In case you were wondering what a plinth is, it is any flat block used as a base for something.

In baseball, basketball or football, you often hear of athletes pining for a ring. Not in hockey. When it comes to the NHL, the championship ring is nice, but every player longs to hoist the trophy. It is one of the few team sports in which you see every member personally holding, kissing and even drinking from Lord Stanley’s mug. It is one of the most famous trophies in the sporting world and has been awarded every year since 1894, except for 1919 (Spanish influenza) and 2005 (labor dispute).
Memorable moment: In 1989, in the only all-Canadian Stanley Cup Final within the last 16 years, Lanny McDonald raised the Stanley Cup trophy for the first time in what would be his final NHL game, as the Calgary Flames defeated the Montreal Canadiens in six games.

For some more information you may want to visit the following link:

Famous Awards – Kentucky Derby Trophy

While the Kentucky Derby may be known as “The Run for the Roses,” everyone knows what the racers really want to be holding in their hands at the end of the race: that shiny, gold Kentucky Derby trophy. The trophy’s main body is an 8-inch-diameter covered cup made of 14-karat spun gold. Sitting atop the cup is a horse and jockey. The cup and figure are 17 inches tall and sit on a jade base, bringing the trophy to 22 inches and about 3-1/2 pounds. Produced today, as it was initially in 1924.

The most well-known contest in the international horse racing circuit, the Kentucky Derby is held annually on the first Saturday in May. The legendary Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., is the only track on which the Derby has been run. The Derby is the first in a triumvirate of the sport’s most prestigious races – collectively known as the Triple Crown – that also includes the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. Although the Belmont Stakes is the oldest race, the Derby is generally considered the most prestigious. “It is the longest continuously run sporting event in America,” says Lane Gold of Churchill Downs. Also, since it’s the first race in the Triple Crown, it tends to get a lot of attention. This year more than 130,000 people will see the race firsthand with millions more watching on television.


The Kentucky Derby track is 1-1/4 miles and takes about two minutes to run. In fact, there has only been one horse to run the track in less than two minutes: Secretariat, who finished in 1:59 2/5 in 1973. A maximum of 20 entrants is allowed; should there be too many registered, preference would be given to horses who have won higher earnings in the graded sweepstakes races leading up to the Derby. Horses must be 3-year-old thoroughbreds and, says Gold, “You have to be a Triple Crown-nominated horse to run.” Generally the owners nominate their own horses to run in the three events. Churchill Downs and its Derby Days are synonymous with many traditions, such as mint juleps and the wreath of roses draped around the winning horse’s neck. But one of the finest – and newest – traditions in the Derby is the presentation of the Kentucky Derby trophy.

Spun Gold
The first Derby trophy was presented in 1924, making it a relative newcomer to the steeped traditions of the blueblood racing crowd. Prior to then, the winners received a silver plate, cup or bowl – there was no set prize. But for the race’s 50th anniversary, Churchill Downs’ president held a contest to design a 14-karat gold permanent trophy for the winner. Louisville’s oldest retail firm, Lemon & Son Jewelers, won the contest with its design of an intricate gold cup and figure. The trophy was designed by George Louis Graff, and Lemon & Son has made the trophy since winning the contest. And just like Southern traditions, not a lot has changed. “It’s made the same way it always has been,” says Gary Rossenberg, Lemon & Son’s general manager. “They use the same original dies that we made in 1924.” The only changes to design were for the Derby’s 75th and 100th anniversary cups, when jewels were added to the cup. Otherwise the base is the only part of the trophy to change: It used to be made of marble; now it’s jade. The manufacturing process begins with a round sheet of 14-karat gold placed in a lathe to create the cup. “The cup is the hardest part to make,” Rossenberg says. “It’s a process called spinning; the gold is shaped around a series of cones and bowls.” The spinning process is a very delicate operation; if the temperature is changed even the slightest during the process, the gold will crack – forcing Lemon & Son to begin anew. This has only happened once, in 1987. But spinning is important because it gives the gold its shiny appearance. “If you were to cast it, you wouldn’t get that finish,” says Rossenberg.
The trim – which comprises the handles, rim and stem of the cup – is cast in 18-karat gold and hand-fitted to the cup. After the trim is applied, it is hand-engraved to enhance the detail. The top plate where the figure stands is 14-karat green gold, as is the lotus flower on the trophy’s base. The horse and jockey are made of solid 18-karat gold with a special hand finish. “It takes about six months to make because of all the different aspects to it,” says Rossenberg. He estimates almost 1,000 man hours go into the trophy’s manufacturing, the cup demanding the greatest part of that. During the manufacturing process, approximately 40 percent of the original gold is lost through fillings, engraving, polishing and shrinking. When completed, the trophy is given a home in a lined mahogany box, to be engraved after the race is won.
Trophy Travails
Lemon & Son also makes three smaller sterling silver versions of the Derby trophy. These are presented to the jockey, the trainer and the breeder. Many people think that the jockey receives the gold trophy; but it is actually given to the owner of the winning horse. The large trophy is worth about $67,000 (1998); the price fluctuates based on the value of gold. The sterling silver trophies are worth about $5,000 each, says Rossenberg.
At such a high value, you can be sure that two security guards follow the trophy wherever it goes. On the day of the Derby, Lemon & Son brings the trophy to Churchill Downs and locks it up – guarded, of course – in the office of Churchill Downs’ president. Only when it is time to make the winning presentation does the trophy emerge into the daylight on that first Saturday in May. But even such diligent protection can’t prevent mishaps from occurring, says Rossenberg. One year, the governor of Kentucky stepped up to the dais to present the trophy to the winner – and promptly dropped the priceless cup, leaving a big dent. “They gave it back to us and we repaired it,” says Rossenberg. The 1937 trophy is on display at the Kentucky Derby Museum in Louisville, saved from disgrace after being found in a pawn shop in New Orleans. “They had stripped all the gold off,” Rossenberg says. “They even rubbed the winner’s name off the plate. The only way we knew who it belonged to is we put a serial number on the cup.” Lemon & Son took the naked trophy, fixed it up and gave it to the museum.

A Permanent Award
Luckily, most cups make it to their new owners without a scratch. The horse owners this year will be competing not only for the chance to hold aloft that shiny trophy, but also for a winning purse of $1 million, of which the winner takes $700,000. That’s a far cry from the first Derby winnings: $2,850 in 1875. The second-place winner takes $170,000, third place $85,000, and fourth place $45,000. The stakes are high, as is the fee to enter a horse in the Kentucky Derby: $15,000. But it’s worth it to thoroughbred owners and jockeys; the Kentucky Derby has always been a place where the “most exciting two minutes in sports” have led to numerous records being broken and history being made. For example, only three fillies have ever won the Derby. And since 1919, only 11 horses have swept the Triple Crown, winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. The legendary Secretariat, a name even nonhorseracing fans will recognize, is one of the 11.
And this year on May 2, with millions watching, one lucky and talented horse will nose across the finish line before any other – and while fresh red roses rain down from the stands, the thankful owner will sidestep the sweet petals as he takes the coveted Kentucky Derby trophy. After all, flowers do wilt – and you can’t drink champagne from them.
© 1998, Awards and Recognition Association

The Larry O’Brien Trophy

The Larry O’Brien Trophy is a Silver and Vermeil Statue – Basketball on Plinth. Vermeil (pronounced vehr-MAY), is also known as silver gilt, is a combination of sterling silver, gold, and other precious metals. A Plinth in architecture is the platform or base upon which a column, pedestal, statue, monument, or structure rests. The trophy is approximately sixteen pounds and stands about two feet tall and valued at $13,500.  It is designed to look like a basketball about to enter a basketball net. The basketball itself is the same size as a regulation size NBA basketball.

The NBA Championship Trophy was created, and named as such, in 1977 and is awarded to the winner of the NBA Finals, at the conclusion of every basketball season. The NBA Championship Trophy was renamed the Larry O’Brien Trophy in 1984 in honor of former NBA commissioner Larry O’Brien upon his retirement.


A new Larry O’Brien Trophy is made every year, unlike the Stanley Cup, and the winning team maintains permanent possession of that trophy. The trophy is engraved with the year and team name, and the trophies are often prominently displayed in the team’s arena. Originally this trophy was called the Walter A. Brown Trophy after the league pioneer and Boston Celtic owner. An earlier NBA Championship bowl also was named after Brown.

Lawrence (Larry) O’Brien, a member of Former President Lyndon B. Johnson’s cabinet as U.S. Postmaster General, became the commissioner of the National Basketball Association in 1975. O’Brien was a vital carpenter of the NBA, building basketball interest among fans. Attendance doubled and television revenue tripled during his tenure, while the most recent broadcast of the 2005 NBA Finals reached 205 countries. In 1984, the sport’s annual championship trophy was renamed in his honor of his “Everyday Greatness”.

To learn a little more about Larry O’Brien’s distinquished career in politics, government and the NBA please click here

Famous Awards – Oscar

Its official name is the Academy Award of Merit, but the origin of the less cumbersome nickname “Oscar” is not clear. For years, Bette Davis claimed to have coined the name when she quipped that the statue’s backside resembled her husband (Oscar). However, Davis recently relinquished her claim when references to the moniker were found in print three years before her 1937 win.


Bruce Davis, executive director of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, has been trying to solve the mystery. “I had three claimants,” he said. “I was able to disprove two, but I find the third one rather suspicious, which is a very unsatisfying conclusion.” The preferred story is that in the early ’30s, Academy librarian and eventual executive director Margaret Herrick commented to staff that the statuette resembled her Uncle Oscar – and the nickname stuck. Officially, the Academy started using the name in 1939.

Golden Touch
“The Oscar is better now than it was 25 years ago because the gold content has been increased,” the manufacturer of the statuettes states. “I believe the Oscar contains more gold than any other famous award.” The specific dollar value, however, is a secret: “The Academy wants them to be considered priceless”. But because of the simple design, “If there was no gold, they’d be worth less than $100 each.”
Each statuette takes 10 people and about 5 1/2 hours of labor to make, close to an hour in polishing alone. “Though we could probably do it quicker, we take three to four weeks to cast 50 statuettes”. “It may sound silly but each one is done to perfection and handled with white gloves. After all, look at the people who will be clutching it on Oscar night.”
The special care is not wasted on Bruce Davis, who first watched the manufacturing process about two years ago. “I was very impressed,” Davis says. “I knew it was a complex process, but to see it done with such care was very reassuring.”
Building a Legend
The Oscar stands 13-1/2 inches tall, not including the 3-inch base, and weighs a deceivingly hefty 8-1/2 pounds. The figure is hand cast in brittanium – an alloy of tin, copper and antimony that is much like pewter – in a 45-pound steel mold. The statuette is then deburred, degreased and polished to a mirror finish. “We spend about 45 minutes just polishing each one” the manufacturer says.
Several layers of metal plating and polishing between each application give the statuette its perfect finish. The brittanium cast first receives a light copper electroplate, then heavy copper. Nickel plating is applied to seal the pores of the metal. Then the statuette is washed in silver-plate, which adheres well to gold. Finally, after more polishing, the statuette is plated in 24-karat gold and receives a baked lacquer finish.
Of course, they’re not engraved until later because the winners are top secret, even to the people who polish and primp the Oscar. The engraver receives the list of winners only after the ceremony, then engraves the plates to ship back to Hollywood.
Timeless Design
The idea for the Oscar was hatched in 1927, when then-MGM President Louis B. Mayer proposed that the one-week-old Academy create a special film award. Cedric Gibbons, MGM art director, and sculptor George Stanley are credited for the design – a knight holding a crusader’s sword standing atop a reel of film whose five spokes symbolize the five branches of the Academy: actors, directors, producers, technicians and writers.
Unlike many other big-name awards, the Oscar has changed very little since its birth in the late ’20s. The design has remained identical except for slight variations in the base, which was originally slightly smaller and made of Belgian black marble. Even the base – now made of spun brass and plated in black nickel – hasn’t changed for 53 years.
The only other variations were in materials. For the first three years, the statuettes were made of gold-plated solid bronze, which was changed to brittanium to ensure a flawless finish. Later, during World War II, the statuettes were cast in plaster when manufacturing with metal was restricted. But the plaster casts were replaced quickly after the war.
All of the plaster versions were thought to be lost until recently when one was discovered in the Academy vault. More than a half century later, it’s amazing any survived. “I imagine the Academy was quite embarrassed about [the plaster versions] at the time,” says Davis. “They were probably all banged against a trash can or something.”
In addition to the Oscar, ARA member R.S. Owens manufactures scores of other big-name awards such as the Emmy, the MTV Music Video Award and the NFL’s MVP Award. Upscale awards may be old hat to Siegel now, but he still remembers the uphill battle of the early years.
Name Recognition
The Oscar is arguably the most widely recognized trophy in the world. The Academy’s Davis attributes its notoriety to three things. First, its age: “[The Academy] was the first organization to begin giving awards in film, so the public has been aware of it since the early 1930s.”
Second, its status in the film industry: “I think it has retained that aura because, even if people aren’t absolutely sure what the Academy is, they do know that it’s the people who make movies looking at all their accomplishments for the year and selecting the outstanding examples.”
Third, its timeless design: “It’s a gorgeous piece of sculpture with a machine-age, streamlined design that was popular in the 1920s and has managed to continue to look modern to this day,” Davis says.
Its popularity has made the Academy Awards an national tradition each spring, having been interrupted only three times in its 70-year history. The first delay was in 1938 when destructive floods hit Los Angeles; the second, in 1968 out of respect for Dr. Martin Luther King, whose funeral was held on the day originally scheduled for the awards; and most recently, in 1981 after the assassination attempt on former President Ronald Reagan.
Precious Cargo
Every year the Academy orders 50 to 65 new Oscars, depending on how many are left over from the previous year and the number of potential winners. “We have to plan for the maximum to win in every category – a maximum assault,” Davis says. More than 2,300 statuettes have been awarded since the first one was presented in 1928.
Leftovers will be kept in a vault until next year’s ceremony and are sometimes used to replace damaged statuettes. Recipients who request replacements are required to turn in the damaged trophy. “The only way to accumulate them is to keep doing wonderful film work,” Davis says.
The Academy owns many historically significant Oscars. “Often heirs of recipients will return them to us, or recipients themselves will leave instructions to return their Oscar to the Academy,” Davis says. “They don’t want something undignified to happen to it.” The statuettes are displayed from time to time at Academy headquarters or at the nearby Herrick film library.
Of course, security is always a concern when the statuettes are transported from place to place. Fifty statuettes were shipped on March 11 from the manufacturer’s factory to Hollywood by Brinks truck and a special United Airlines charter. Fortunately, none has ever been lost in transport, but there are at least a few Oscars on the lam.
“We recently became aware that we lost one,” says Davis. During the 1972 ceremony, two winners were called but only one was in attendance. One winner came up and claimed her award and the other statuette was left on the podium as they broke for commercial. Someone must have pocketed it, Davis says.
Recently it turned up on the black market. “The Academy will make every effort to get it back,” he says. The Academy is able to track missing Oscars because they are numbered, starting in 1949 with the somewhat arbitrary number 501.
“[Oscars] have always been among the most valuable things that a person in this industry can acquire, but they recently have gained a secondary financial value,” Davis says.
© 1998, Awards and Recognition Association

Get your very own Oscar Replica here!

Famous Awards – Olympic Medal

With the 2010 Winter Olympics upon us, it may be time to look back at the history of what the competitors will be all striving for – the Olympic Medal.  

The 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, are already a distant memory for most people. But the medal-winning athletes who participated have a daily and permanent reminder of their great feats: their Olympic medals.


Even at the first modern Olympiad in 1896, organizers realized the power of a beautiful medal. The first-place winners were given silver medals instead of gold, but they didn’t mind–after all, the winners of the second Olympic Games were given pieces of modern art as their prize! That ended quickly at the next Games when the medal presentation was revived, and since then the Olympic medals have been a symbol of international dedication and sportsmanship – on and off the field.

It is impossible to say how many medals have been given out over the years, says Barbara Gresham, senior media coordinator at the U.S. Olympic Committee, because the way the medals are distributed has changed. For instance, today swimmers participating in preliminary qualifying rounds of medal-winning relay teams are awarded a medal even if they don’t swim in the final event. Similarly, the entire basketball team now gets medals, whereas only players who actually saw court time in the medal-winning game used to receive them.

The host country is responsible for the design and production of the athlete’s medals. As the next host city prepares to host the Games, American firms are gearing up to present their designs to the organizing committee, which generally holds a contest to find the best and most creative medal design.

A Pressured Situation
It is a long and very detailed process. The manufacturer begins the actual production in January and delivers the medals in May. Sent in the shipment were 604 gold, 604 silver and 630 bronze medals.

The production process begins with a three-dimensional clay model of both the front and back of the medal. The front of each medal was the same, but the backs were customized with a pictogram depicting each sport’s athlete in action. Thirty-one different models had to be made for the backsides. “It was modeled three times the actual size.” “You can get it a little more accurate when you pantograph it down (that way).”

Plaster-rubber molds were then made with an epoxy that is easily pantographed. To make the dies, the mold was taken to the pantograph machine, where the design was reduced to actual size – 70 millimeters in diameter (2 3/4 inch) and 5 millimeters thick (3/8 inch – and traced into steel. The resulting steel hubs are actually positive replications of the models. The die is then made from the hubs.

To make the medals, the front and back dies are stamped together. “They’re not struck so much as they are squeezed.” The dies come together under 1,000 tons per inch of pressure. “It’s an incredible amount of power; each piece had to be resqueezed three times to get the detail up into the die.” To ensure a perfect match with the die before being resqueezed, each medal was individually placed and checked by hand as it lay in the die.

Making the gold medal was harder than the others. There are very strict guidelines for the materials used; the gold medal must be made out of sterling silver and contain at a minimum 6 grams of pure gold. One of the most difficult things to do technically was the gold medal. It’s a sandwich of gold with sterling (inside). It had to be centered (and struck) at a specific temperature so the metals would bond. Just gold plating the silver wouldn’t have been enough gold. It has to be clad and then gold plated because of the silver (edges).

Each medal was engraved on the edge with the event name. Medals were then polished and drilled for ribbon holes. The ribbon holder was soldered in place, the embroidered ribbon attached and then the medals were placed into special presentation cases.

The Gold (and Silver and Bronze) Standard
The International Olympic Committee has strict guidelines on the production of the Olympic medals. According to the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Gresham, the medals must be at least 60 millimeters in diameter and 3 millimeters thick. The silver in both the gold and silver medals must be at least 925-1000 grade, the gold medal must have at least 6 grams of pure gold and the bronze medal must be pure bronze.

All medal designs must be approved by the games’ organizing committee, the country’s Olympic committee, and finally the International Olympic Committee’s Executive Board. Although the Winter Games haven’t had a consistent standard design on either the front or the back, “The summer medals’ design has been basically the same since 1928 on the front,” says Gresham. “The organizing committee can add a personal design on the rear.” This unique design element usually reflects the character of the city and country where the Games are being held.

The main figure is Lady Victory holding a wreath over her head and carrying palm leaves. The ancient Olympic stadium in Greece is in the background with a horse-drawn chariot in front of it. The front is finished with the image of a Grecian urn and the official Olympic rings. The date and place of the games also appears on the front.

For the Atlanta games the focus of the medals’ rear was a quilt of leaves to symbolize both the host city of Atlanta and the spirit of the Olympic games. Quilt-making is a long-time Southern tradition and quilts are a symbol of unity, a marriage of nations and cultures blended together, a continuing theme of the Olympics. The leaves woven into the quilt both reflect Atlanta – known as the City of Trees – and Olympic history – in the past, a crown of olive leaves went to the victors. The pictograms of athletes on the back were designed to look like ancient Greek urn paintings.

The Post-Medal Life
The manufacturer also made 60,000 commemorative solid bronze medals, which were given to all participating athletes, sponsors, officials and others involved in creating the 1996 Summer Games. There were 271 medal events in Atlanta, in contrast to the recent 1998 Nagano Winter Games, in which there were only 68. The U.S. Olympics Committee restricts American athletes from using their medals in advertising; the designers and manufacturers of the medals are similarly restrained.

The medals for the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games won’t be identical to Atlanta’s striking medals, but one similarity is sure to occur: The medals will bring the same feelings of joy, amazement and pride to the medal-winning athletes and their countries.
© 1998, Awards and Recognition Association

Famous Awards – The Championship Ring

It is funny to hear someone who apparently has everything: millions of dollars; athletic greatness; national and international recognition and adulation state “all I want is a ring” before I retire.  The ring they speak of is the Super Bowl Championship Ring that is awarded to the individuals from the team that wins the National Football League’s Super Bowl.  The rings are awarded to the players, coaches and team personnel affiliated with the winning team of the NFL’s BIG GAME.


These rings are typically made of yellow or white gold with diamonds. They usually include….

…the team name, team logo, and Super Bowl number (usually indicated in Roman numerals). Most of the rings also have larger diamonds or diamonds made into the shape of the trophy, that represent the number of Super Bowls that franchise has won (thus, Pittsburgh’s 2005 ring has five trophies, representing the five Super Bowls they have won).

The NFL pays up to $5,000.00 per ring, with up to 150 rings per team. If the rings are over the $5,000 limit, the team owners must make up the difference.

Recent rings have been appraised in excess of $20,000 but manufacturers keep this information confidential. Each year a number of manufacturers submit proposed ring designs to the winning teams management with an estimated cost. From these submissions the team selects the ring that will become that year’s symbol of athletic excellence in American football.

The most Super Bowl rings won to date is Seven, won by Neal Dahlen. Mr. Dahlen won five with the 49ers (Staff and Player Personnel) and two with the Denver Broncos (General Manager). The second most is Six, won by Conditioning coach Mike Woicik. Mike won three with the Dallas Cowboys and three with the New England Patriots. Bill Belichick currently has five and with the next win allowing him to join this elite group.

A number of better known players and coaches currently hold five rings. This list includes: Dan Rooney, Dick Hoak, Joe Greene, Charles Haley, Chuck Noll, Bill Belichick, Romeo Crennel, George Seifert, and Pepper Johnson. Each have five Super Bowl Rings. Rooney won each as an executive with the Pittsburgh Steelers, for which Hoak was running backs coach for all five championships. Also for the Steelers, defensive tackle Greene won four as a player and one as the Steelers’ special assistant for player personnel

Twenty-two players have won four rings, among them Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Mel Blount, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Rocky Bleier, Donnie Shell, and Mike Webster, each won four Super Bowl rings with the Steelers. Joe Montana, Keena Turner, Jesse Sapolu, Eric Wright, and Ronnie Lott each won four Super Bowl rings with the 49ers. Kicker Adam Vinatieri won three with the Patriots and one with the Indianapolis Colts. Ted Hendricks won three with the Raiders and one with the Colts. Bill Romanowski won two with the 49ers and two with the Denver Broncos. Coach Charlie Weis won one with the Giants and three with the Patriots. Matt Millen has the most rings from different teams, two with the Oakland Raiders, one with the 49ers, and one with the Washington Redskins. These numbers will obviously change with time

To view designs from all of the past Super Bowl rings please visit the following link

Special thanks to for information contributed to this posting.

Famous Awards – Lombardi Trophy

What Dat?  Dat is the Super Bowl trophy won by the New Orleans Saints last night.   It started in 1966 on a cocktail napkin–a humble beginning for the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl Trophy, one of the world’s most prestigious sports awards. The scene was a luncheon attended by both Pete Rozelle, then-commissioner of the National Football League, and a vice president of a prominent Jeweler in New York, N.Y.


The jeweler sketched it extremely quickly. “And that sketch became an icon of modern-day sports–the symbol for what no one knew at the time would be one of today’s most popular sporting events.”

The first Super Bowl, called the AFL/NFL World Championship Game, was played in January following the 1966 football season. At that time, the game was a contest between the champions of the National Football League and the American Football League. Around the third championship game, the media started calling it the Super Bowl, a title coined by Lamar Hunt, owner of the Kansas City Chiefs and founder of the AFL. He thought of the name after seeing his daughter playing with a toy rubber ball called a superball.

After Super Bowl IV, the two leagues merged into one under the NFL name, with teams divided into two conferences: the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The Super Bowl is now a match between the two conference champions.

Test of Time
The actual design of the Super Bowl trophy was nearly identical to the first sketch. And since the first one was made in 1966, that design hasn’t changed one iota. “That’s one of the secrets of the trophy’s success and durability”. “It’s always been the same, which makes it instantly recognizable.”
It was dubbed the Vince Lombardi Trophy in 1970, just before Super Bowl V. Lombardi–who died of cancer on Sept. 3, 1970, at the age of 57–was a well respected coach who had led the Green Bay Packers to victory in the first two Super Bowls.

The trophy is a perfect blend of modern and traditional. Made entirely of sterling silver, it depicts a regulation football atop what resembles an elongated kicking tee–a plinth with three tapered, concave sides. “It’s a traditional football, modernized by the sculpted triangular base”. At least 72 hours of labor are required each year to manufacture the trophy. “It’s done entirely by hand”. “It’s hand spun, hand assembled, hand hammered into the base, hand engraved and hand chased.”

Because the trophy uses a heavy gauge of silver that is difficult to bend and shape, the manufacturing process demands great expertise. First a spinner places onto a lathe a wooden chuck carved into the shape of half a football. A thick sheet of silver is placed on the chuck. With forming tools, it’s spun until it assumes the shape of the chuck. After both halves are formed, they are soldered together to form the ball. “They are joined so perfectly that there’s no evidence of a seam.” Then a silversmith hand chases the seams and laces onto the ball so that it resembles an actual football. The base is formed from sheet stock, which is hand hammered and soldered. The football is attached by a silver rod that comes up through the base and is secured by silver nuts and bolts. “It has to be sturdy enough to hold up under handling by those ‘little’ football players.” During the manufacturing process, the trophy must be annealed five or six times because the repeated hammering hardens the surface. The annealing loosens the bonding of the molecules in the silver, allowing it to be shaped.

After the trophy is complete, the NFL symbol and the Super Bowl number are hand engraved into a sheet stock of silver, which is applied to the base. When finished, the Lombardi stands 20-3/4 inches tall and weighs about seven pounds. And while it’s officially valued at $10,000 (1998), it’s a priceless symbol of hard-earned victory for the players and their fans. “The trophies are a great source of pride here,” says Ann Dabeck, administrative assistant for the Green Bay Packers, who won trophies from the first two Super Bowls, as well as the 1996 championship.

Taking It Home
Green Bay is one of only 12 teams in the NFL–out of a total of 30–that has earned the title of Super Bowl champion. Of those 12, eight are multiple winners. The Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers tie for the most wins with five apiece. Immediately following a Super Bowl victory, the NFL Commissioner presents the winning team with the trophy. Sometimes it is slightly damaged in the champagne celebration. “We always have an extra in case a catastrophe occurs, but so far nothing major has ever happened.” The trophy is then returned to the manufacturer for any repairs and the engraving of the team names and the final score onto the base. Then it goes back to the team for permanent possession.

The teams are free to display the trophies where they want, so they end up in a variety of places. Until recently, Green Bay’s trophy from Super Bowl I was on display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Now the Hall of Fame has a copy of the trophy, while all three of the Packer’s awards are housed behind glass in the entrance of its administrative offices, next to its pro shop. The number of fans who come to see the trophies increased greatly after the team’s 1996 win, Dabeck says.

The Dallas Cowboys’ five Lombardis are on public display only once a year at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas. The rest of the year they are kept in the office of Jerry Jones, the team’s owner. The 49ers display their five awards in the lobby of the team’s administrative offices in Santa Clara, Calif. The team’s marketing department occasionally takes the trophies on “field trips” such as luncheons and other promotional events.
Only one championship team doesn’t have its original trophy. The Baltimore Colts (who moved to Indianapolis in 1984) had to order a copy of the Lombardi from Tiffany’s after Carroll Rosenbloom–who owned the team when it won Super Bowl V–took the trophy with him when he traded the Colts for the Los Angeles Rams. Although the Colts are now in Indianapolis, the team’s copy of the trophy is still on display in Baltimore.

Sweet Victory
In addition to the trophy, the individual players on the championship team receive custom-designed rings and a cash award, which currently is $48,000, says Pete Fierle, information services manager for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Each player on the losing team receives $29,000–quite a hike from Super Bowl I in which players from the victorious Green Bay Packers each got $15,000, while the losing Kansas City Chiefs received $7,000 apiece.
But for most players, the monetary awards that accompany a Super Bowl victory are secondary to the thrill of achieving the title of world champion. And after 32 years, the Vince Lombardi Trophy still stands as a sterling testimony to that accomplishment. “It’s a wonderful iconographic symbol of sports in modern times.”

© 1998, Awards and Recognition Association

A Lombardi Trophy fun fact from Steve Sabol, President of NFL films: Sabol’s memory from the first Super Bowl was that League officials wanted to take the winning trophy to New York to be engraved, but Vince Lombardi, the winning coach of the Green Bay Packers, insisted that he was taking it back to Green Bay to show his “stockholders”. Mr. Sabol said “after he showed it to the stockholders, the Packers sent the trophy to New York to be engraved, but sent it in a regular cardboard box, and it was destroyed.” The manufacturer of the trophy had to remake the first Super Bowl trophy ever won, and “the League was mad at the Packers”. A custom carrying and shipping case was designed and now in use to prevent this mishap from occuring in the future.


Lombardi Trophy Replica

Famous Awards – The Emmy

The Emmy Award is an American television production award focused on entertainment, and is considered in equal prestige to the Oscars. Since 1949, the Emmy has represented the pinnacle of prime-time television excellence for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.


History of Emmy Award
After rejecting 47 proposals for what was to become the Emmy® statuette, Academy members in 1948 selected a design that television engineer Louis McManus had created using his wife as a model. The statuette of a winged woman holding an atom has since become the symbol of the Television Academy’s goal of supporting and uplifting the arts and science of television: The wings represent ….

…the muse of art; the atom the electron of science.

After selecting the design for the statuette that would reward excellence in the television industry, Academy members were faced with decision number two: What to name the symbol.


Academy founder Syd Cassyd suggested “Ike,” the nickname for the television iconoscope tube. But with a national war hero named Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower, Academy members thought they needed a less well-known name. Harry Lubcke, a pioneer television engineer and the third Academy president, suggested “Immy,” a term commonly used for the early image orthicon camera. The name stuck and was later modified to Emmy, which members thought was more appropriate for a female symbol.

Each year, the Television academy contracts to have approximately two hundred statuettes produced for the prime-time awards show and the three hundred for the regional awards. Although the numbers of categories rarely change, the possibility of multiple winners prompts the Academy to order extra statuettes. Surplus awards are stored for the following year’s ceremony.

The statuettes weigh four and three-quarter pounds and are made of copper, nickel, silver, and gold. Each one takes five and one-half hours to make and is handled with white gloves so as to leave no fingerprints. “It’s an intense process,” said an account executive for the manufacturer. “They are handcast, deburred, buffed, and hand polished.”

Three related but separate organizations present Emmy Awards. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences honors national prime time entertainment excluding sports. The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recognizes daytime, sports, news and documentary programming. And the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences honors programming originating outside the United States.

The best-known of the awards are the Primetime Emmys, and the Daytime Emmy Awards, with both having categories classified as Creative Arts Emmys. The first Emmy Awards were presented on January 25, 1949 at the Hollywood Athletic Club. Shirley Dinsdale has the distinction of receiving the very first Emmy in the first awards ceremony.

The Primetime Emmys are presented in recognition of excellence in American primetime television programming. Ceremonies generally air in mid-September, on the Sunday before the official start of the fall television season, and are currently seen in rotation among the ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX network.

The Daytime Emmy Awards are presented in recognition of excellence in American daytime television programming. The first daytime-themed Emmy Awards were given out at the primetime ceremony in 1972, but the first separate awards show made just for daytime programming was not held until 1974.

The Sports Emmys are presented for excellence in sports programming. The awards ceremony takes place every Spring, usually sometime in the last two weeks in April or the first week in May, and is held on a Monday night in New York City.

Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards are presented to individuals, companies, or to scientific or technical organizations in recognition for their significant developments and contributions to the technological and engineering aspects of television.

There are twenty chapters of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, located across the United States, that conduct regional awards to recognize excellence in all the regional television markets. Because the headquarters of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences are located in Los Angeles, the Academy also handles the Los Angeles area membership and regional awards. These awards are less glamorous than the Prime Time Emmys and are sometimes technical. The Regional Emmy Award is 11.5 inches (29 cm) tall with a base diameter of 5.5 inches (14 cm) and weight of 48 oz (1.4 kg), as opposed to the Primetime Emmy, which stands 15.5 inches (39 cm) tall with a base diameter of 7.5 inches (19 cm) and weight of 88 oz (2.5 kg).
The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences hands out awards which honor the best of non-US television.

Identifying these recipients can take months, with judging taking place at various international TV festivals. The best two programs from a particular genre in four regions are selected to go to a semifinal round, from which the nominees are derived. Every nominee is screened at a festival in New York the day before the awards ceremony.

For information please visit the following link of the Academy of Television arts & Sciences Special thanks to for contributing information.