According to Smithsonian magazine, in the early days of the modern Olympics, medals were awarded for non-athletic competition.
What non-athletic competitions used to be in the Olympics?
For the first four decades of the games, the Olympics awarded official medals for painting, sculpture, architecture, literature and music, in addition to those for the athletic competitions. From 1912 to 1952, juries awarded a total of 151 medals to original works in the fine arts that were inspired by athletic endeavors.
In 1912, for his work, An American Trotter, Winans won the first-ever Olympic gold medal for sculpture. It was a 20-inch-tall horse pulling a small chariot.
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