Winners were given silver medals at the first modern Olympics

While gold medals are the world-renown prize of Olympic winners in the modern era, that was not always the case. In the first modern Olympics - meaning not the Olympics of ancient Greece - Olympic winners actually received silver medals. James B. Connolly was the first athlete to receive such a medal in 1896. Along with a silver medal, winners also got crowned with an olive wreath. Since then, the event has adopted the gold, silver, and bronze medals for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place