Congrats! Here’s an ugly medal

I trained for this? On the eve of the London games, a look at some of the most hideous Olympic medal designs

Topics: Summer Olympics 2012,

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    Congrats! Here's an ugly medal

    Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City 2002

    This looks like a cross between the cover of “Atlas Shrugged” and a Chicken McNugget. In other words, perfect for Mitt Romney’s Olympics!

    This looks like a cross between the cover of “Atlas Shrugged” and a Chicken McNugget. In other words, perfect for Mitt Romney’s Olympics!

    Congrats! Here's an ugly medal

    Winter Olympics, Nagano 1998

    This was made using traditional lacquers and enamels but still ended up looking like something out of a SkyMall catalog.

    This was made using traditional lacquers and enamels but still ended up looking like something out of a SkyMall catalog.

    Congrats! Here's an ugly medal

    Winter Olympics, Sarajevo 1984

    Ordinarily, we applaud artists for taking risks. But when they appear to use seat belt buckles as inspiration for an Olympic medal, the applause stops.

    Ordinarily, we applaud artists for taking risks. But when they appear to use seat belt buckles as inspiration for an Olympic medal, the applause stops.

    Congrats! Here's an ugly medal

    Summer Olympics, London 2012

    Oddly enough, the only Summer Olympics medal on our list. Watch your television carefully for the look of horror when one of the winners discovers its “stretched rubber bands” design.

    Oddly enough, the only Summer Olympics medal on our list. Watch your television carefully for the look of horror when one of the winners discovers its “stretched rubber bands” design.

    Congrats! Here's an ugly medal

    Winter Olympics, Albertville 1992

    This kicked off the questionable practice of integrating non-metal materials into the medals. Because what athletes want is less gold and more frosted glass.

    This kicked off the questionable practice of integrating non-metal materials into the medals. Because what athletes want is less gold and more frosted glass.

    Congrats! Here's an ugly medal

    Winter Olympics, Lillehammer 1994

    The non-metal material fad goes too far, and Olympic medalists pay the price. Particularly ski jumpers.

    The non-metal material fad goes too far, and Olympic medalists pay the price. Particularly ski jumpers.

    Congrats! Here's an ugly medal

    Winter Olympics, Vancouver 2010

    This medal has gotten a lot of criticism because it looks like it melted on someone’s dashboard, which obscures the fact that it would have been just as hideous had it been perfectly flat.

    This medal has gotten a lot of criticism because it looks like it melted on someone’s dashboard, which obscures the fact that it would have been just as hideous had it been perfectly flat.

    Congrats! Here's an ugly medal

    Winter Olympics, Torino 2006

    Considering how hard Olympic athletes train and prepare, it’s a real slap in the face to drape them with a scratched CD wrapped in a ribbon.

    Considering how hard Olympic athletes train and prepare, it’s a real slap in the face to drape them with a scratched CD wrapped in a ribbon.

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Jacob Sugarman is Salon's cover editor and the editor of Open Salon. You can follow him on twitter @jakesugarman.

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