The 2012 Summer Olympics in London are just around the corner, and hundreds of medals will be handed out to athletes. Since most of us aren'tathletically talented enough to be taking one home, we decided to give you a closer look at what this year's winning athletes will wear around their neck. We also look back at every modern summer Olympic medal, dating back to the 1896 games in Athens, Greece.
A bronze medal from the first modern Olympics in Athens in 1896.
United States Medal Count: 11 Gold, 7 Silver, 1 Bronze
1896 Olympic Highlight: Robert Garrett wins gold in discus and shot put; silver in high jump and long jump.
1900 in Paris
A rectangular gold medal from Parisin 1900.
United States Medal Count: 19 Gold, 14.5 Silver, 15.5 Bronze
1900 Olympic Highlight: Alvin Kraenzlein wins four gold medals in track and field.
1904 in St. Louis
A gold medal from the sparsely-attended games in St. Louisin 1904.
United States Medal Count: 78 Gold, 85 Silver, 82 Bronze
1904 Olympic Highlight: America won over 80 percent of the medals in these Olympics.
1908 in London
A gold medal from 1908 inLondon, host of this summer’s games.
United States Medal Count: 23 Gold, 12 Silver, 12 Bronze
1908 Olympic Highlight: The 1906 eruption of Mount Vesuvius forced these Olympics to be moved from Rome.
1912 in Stockholm
A silver medal from Stockholm, Swedenin 1912.
United States Medal Count: 25 Gold, 18 Silver, 19 Bronze
1912 Olympic Highlight: Jim Thorpe wins gold in both the decathlon and pentathlon.
1920 in Belgium
A gold medal from Antwerp, Belgium in 1920.
United States Medal Count: 41 Gold, 27 Silver, 27 Bronze
1920 Olympic Highlight: Hawaiian legend Duke Kahanamoku, who won gold in the 100-meter freestyle in 1912, wins that same event eight years later.
1924 in Paris
A gold medal from Paris in 1924.
United States Medal Count: 45 Gold, 27 Silver, 27 Bronze
1924 Olympic Highlight: Swimmer Johnny Weissmuller wins the 100- and 400-meter freestyle, plus adds a third gold in a relay.
1928 in Amsterdam
A silver medal from Amsterdam in 1928.
United States Medal Count: 22 Gold, 18 Silver, 16 Bronze
1928 Olympic Highlight: Weissmuller wins two more gold medals in swimming, while Peter Desjardins takes two in diving.
1932 in Los Angeles
A gold medal from Los Angeles in 1932.
United States Medal Count: 41 Gold, 32 Silver, 30 Bronze
1932 Olympic Highlight: Babe Didrikson Zaharias wins gold in the hurdles and javelin throw.
1936 in Berlin
A gold medal from Berlin in 1936.
United States Medal Count: 24 Gold, 20 Silver, 12 Bronze
1936 Olympic Highlight: Jesse Owens sprints and jumps to four gold medals.
1948 in London
A gold medal from London in 1948.
United States Medal Count: 38 Gold, 27 Silver, 19 Bronze
1948 Olympic Highlight: Bob Mathias wins gold in the decathlon at the age of 17.
1952 in Helsinki
A silver medal from Helsinki, Finland in 1952.
United States Medal Count: 40 Gold, 19 Silver, 17 Bronze
1952 Olympic Highlight: Mathias defends his decathlon title with a world-record, while hurdler Harrison Dillard wins two golds for the second-straight Olympics.
1956 in Melbourne
A gold medal from Melbourne in 1956.
United States Medal Count: 32 Gold, 25 Silver, 17 Bronze
1956 Olympic Highlight: Sprinter Bobby Morrow wins the 100- and 200-meters, plus another gold on the 4X100 relay team.
1960 in Rome
A bronze medal from Rome in 1960.
United States Medal Count: 34 Gold, 21 Silver, 16 Bronze
1960 Olympic Highlight: Track star Wilma Rudolph wins three gold medals, while Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali) takes boxing's light-heavyweight division.
1964 in Tokyo
A gold medal from Tokyo in 1964.
United States Medal Count: 36 Gold, 26 Silver, 28 Bronze
1964 Olympic Highlight: Future football stars Bob Hayes and Henry Carr sprint to gold.
1968 in Mexico City
A gold medal from Mexico City in 1968.
United States Medal Count: 45 Gold, 28 Silver, 34 Bronze
1968 Olympic Highlight: Bob Beamon wins gold by setting the long-jump world record that would last until 1991.
1972 in Munich
A silver medal from Munich in 1972.
United States Medal Count: 33 Gold, 31 Silver, 30 Bronze
1972 Olympic Highlight: Mark Spitz swims to seven gold medals during games marred by terrorists.
1976 in Montreal
A gold medal from Montreal in 1976.
United States Medal Count: 34 Gold, 35 Silver, 25 Bronze
1976 Olympic Highlight: Bruce Jenner dominates the decathlon, setting a new world record.
1980 in Moscow
A bronze medal from Moscow in 1980.
United States Medal Count: 0
1980 Olympic Highlight: The United States leads a 50-nation boycott in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
1984 in Los Angeles
A gold medal from Los Angeles in 1984.
United States Medal Count: 83 Gold, 61 Silver, 30 Bronze
1984 Olympic Highlight: Carl Lewis wins four gold medals in track and field, while gymnast Mary Lou Retton captures gold in the all-around competition.
1988 in Seoul
A gold medal from Seoul in 1988.
United States Medal Count: 36 Gold, 31 Silver, 27 Bronze
1988 Olympic Highlight: Florence Griffith-Joyner wins three golds in track, and Greg Louganis dominates diving.
1992 in Barcelona
A gold medal from Barcelona in 1992.
United States Medal Count: 37 Gold, 34 Silver, 37 Bronze
1992 Olympic Highlight: USA Basketball’s “Dream Team” dominates an overmatched field, while Jennifer Capriati captures tennis gold at age 16.
1996 in Atlanta
A gold medal from Atlanta in 1996.
United States Medal Count: 44 Gold, 32 Silver, 25 Bronze
1996 Olympic Highlight: Wearing gold shoes, Michael Johnson wins the 200- and 400-meter sprints.
2000 in Sydney
A bronze medal from Sydney in 2000.
United States Medal Count: 37 Gold, 24 Silver, 34 Bronze
2000 Olympic Highlight: Rulon Gardner wins gold in the super-heavyweight class of Greco-Roman wrestling. He defeats Russian legend Alexander Karelin, who had won the gold in the three previous Olympics.
2004 in Athens
A silver medal from Athens in 2004.
United States Medal Count: 36 Gold, 39 Silver, 27 Bronze
2004 Olympic Highlight: The U.S. women’s soccer team prevails as Mia Hamm makes her final Olympics appearance, and Michael Phelps wins six gold medals in swimming.
2008 in Beijing
A gold medal from Beijing in 2008.
United States Medal Count: 36 Gold, 38 Silver, 36 Bronze
2008 Olympic Highlight: Phelps tops his stellar 2004 performance by winning an amazing eight golds in the pool.
2012 in London
A gold medal from the 2012 games in London, which take place from July 27 to August 12.
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