Answer: The Pierre de Coubertin Medal.
Next year, right around this time, over eleven-thousand athletes will trot over to Tokyo, Japan to compete in the 2020 summer Olympics. In addition to the 28 sports on the Olympic Program, five additional sports have been added at the request of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee: Baseball/Softball, Karate, Skateboarding, Sport climbing, and Surfing. Four of those new sports are meant to draw a younger audience, and every competition will be comprised of athletes that have been dreaming for as long as they can remember of winning the gold, silver, or bronze medal. What some athletes don’t know, and many casual fans certainly haven’t heard of, is the extremely elusive fourth medal given out at the Olympics: The Pierre de Coubertin Medal.
Also known as the De Coubertin medal or the True Spirit of Sportsmanship medal, The Pierre de Coubertin medal is a special decoration awarded by the International Olympic Committee to those athletes, former athletes, sports promoters, sporting officials and others who exemplify the spirit of sportsmanship in Olympic events or through exceptional service to the Olympic movement, according to the BBC. Moreover, because this isn’t something that teams are battling for on an individual game basis, nor can individuals compete for it in a single match, the medal is only awarded at certain Olympic games. The medal was inaugurated in 1964 and named in honor of Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee. According to the Olympic Museum, it “is one of the noblest honors that can be bestowed upon an Olympic athlete.”
Just this past Sunday, Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee gave a speech for the 125th anniversary of the IOC, which, as mentioned above, was founded by Pierre de Coubertin. Bach stated, “On this very day, 125 years ago on 23 June 1894, Pierre de Coubertin founded the IOC and revived the Olympic Games. He saw this as a way to promote peace among nations and people. He was a visionary when he said: ‘Should the institution of the Olympic Games prosper, it can become a potent factor in securing universal peace.” The Olympic games have helped the world come together, even if it is just for two weeks during the summer or winter, every two years. The last person to win the medal was China’s, Han Meilin, an artist most recognized today for his creation of the Fuwa dolls for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. We’ll be sure to keep an eye out for the next admirable recipient.