News04 Jul 2024

MOWA Olympic Athletics Collection on display in Paris


MOWA Olympic Athletics Collection - 'Paris 1924 to Paris 2024' (© Getty Images / MOWA)

“Paris 1924 to Paris 2024” is a World Athletics Heritage and Museum of World Athletics (MOWA) programme celebrating the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad Paris 2024 throughout this year.

During the fortnight of the Games, a selection of competition artefacts from the MOWA Olympic Athletics Collection, which have been worn or used in the Olympic Games, will be on public display in the centre of Paris.

The display, which features artefacts from more than 30 Olympic medallists, will be hosted in the public spaces of the Westin Paris – Vendome (3 Rue de Castiglione, 75001 Paris), situated opposite the world-famous Tuileries Garden, from 24 July to 11 August.

Olympic titles and world records

Among the featured items are the singlet and bib number worn by Herb Elliott in Rome 1960 when he sped to the 1500m title in a world record; the pair of spikes which took Alberto Juantorena to his 400m and 800m double, the latter in a world record, in Montreal 1976; and one of Michael Johnson’s Atlanta 1996 gold spikes in which he won the 200m and 400m double, the former in a world record.

The London 1948 Olympic accreditation card of Fanny Blankers-Koen, who won four gold medals in those Games, will also be on show, as will the spikes which Irena Szewinska wore when sprinting to the 400m world record and Olympic title in Montreal 1976.

Click here to download the souvenir pamphlet (pdf)

Historic return to Paris

The Flying Finn Paavo Nurmi, the most successful Olympic track and field athlete in history with nine gold and three silver medals, is central to the Paris celebrations.

Mika Nurmi with the Paris 1924 Olympic gold medals won by his grandfather Paavo Nurmi

Mika Nurmi with the Paris 1924 Olympic gold medals won by his grandfather Paavo Nurmi (© Aurelien Meunier - Getty Images for World Athletics Heritage)

A bronze bust given to Nurmi by a multi-millionaire American admirer to honour Nurmi’s five Olympic victories in Paris 1924, the most ever won by an athlete in one edition, will also be on display in the Westin Paris – Vendome.

Thanks to the kind generosity of the Nurmi family and with the assistance and sponsorship of World Athletics Heritage, Nurmi’s five Paris 1924 golds have already made their first return in a century to France.

Nurmi’s unique set of medals have been on display in the exhibition "D’or, d’argent, de bronze. Une histoire de la medaille Olympique" in the museum of the Monnaie de Paris (11 Quai de Conti, 75006 Paris) since 27 March 2024.

The museum is situated on the left bank of the Seine and the exhibition will be open to the public until 2 November 2024.

What makes the return of Nurmi’s golds to Paris so historic is that it was the Monnaie de Paris which manufactured the 1924 Olympic medals. The dies from which the medals were cast, which form part of the permanent collection of the museum, are also on display in the exhibition.

First six metre vault

This year, World Athletics Heritage has also sponsored a series of monumental athletics sculptures which have been temporarily installed in public locations across the French capital.

Among others, these artworks celebrate the first 6.00m pole vault in history which was achieved by Olympic champion Sergey Bubka in Paris in 1985.

MOWA Collector’s Cards

To mark Paris 2024, five more MOWA Collector’s Cards will be published, bringing the individually numbered card series up to 60.

MOWA Collector’s Card No. 60 - Kipchoge

MOWA Collector’s Card No. 60 - Eliud Kipchoge (© MOWA)

The new cards, each displaying an athlete whose career is represented by an artefact in the MOWA’s World Athletics Heritage Collection, all feature Olympic champions:

No. 56 – Michael Johnson,
No. 57 – Carolina Kluft
No. 58 – Veronica Campbell-Brown
No. 59 – Mutaz Barshim
No. 60 – Eliud Kipchoge

From the start of the Olympic Games in Paris, the five new designs will join the previous 55 cards on the MOWA 3D platform where they can all be ordered free of charge.

Click here to enter the MOWA

Visitors simply need to go the artefact of the athlete concerned and, using the card icon on the bottom right of the activation screen, request a card (one per person) which will be posted to them free of charge.  

Chris Turner for World Athletics Heritage