78: The first Olympic silver medal awarded for a winter
The first Olympic silver medal awarded for a winter sport: a 1908 London Olympic Games second prize medal won by Great Britain's Arthur Warren J Cumming for the Special Figures For Men, designed by Bertram Mackennal, in silver, two young maidens are crowning a winning athlete, the reverse with St George slaying the dragon, the rim inscribed SECOND PRIZE MEN'S SPECIAL FIGURE SKATING The 1908 London Games contained events in figure skating for both men and women pre-dating the first Winter Olympic Games that took place at Chamonix 16 years later in 1924. The Men's Special Figures was the first event in the skating schedule with the finals taking place on 29th October 1908 at the Prince's Skating Club in Knightsbridge. Special figures were a component of figure skating in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Like compulsory figures today, special figures involved tracing patterns on the ice with the blade of one skate, testing the skater's powers of balance and control. While compulsory figures have standard patterns derived from the a figure of 8, the earlier special figures were elaborate patterns of the skaters' own invention. These designs included rosettes, stars, crosses, and other elaborate curlicues In the 1908 Games Arthur Cumming finished runner-up in the Special Figures to the Russian skater Nikolai Panin. The Special Figures never appeared as part of an Olympic programme thereafter. Tragically Cumming was involved in a motorcycle accident in May 1914 after which he contracted tetanus and died a day after his 25th birthday.