The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, is one of the city's most popular tourist attractions

The IOC Museum

With over 200,000 visitors per year, The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, is one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. The museum, which opened in 1993, houses over 10,000 Olympic artefacts. This makes it the largest collection of olympic memorabilia in the world.

Athletes’ Memorabilia

The range of items held in the museum is diverse and impressive. Firstly, visitors can get up close to the actual outfits worn by Olympians during the Games. An iconic example of this is the pair of trainers worn by inspirational athlete Jesse Owens, the slave descendant who won an outstanding four gold medals in the face of a heavy Nazi presence at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. As well as personal stories of triumph, advances in clothing design are showcased, such as skier Charlotte Kalla’s revolutionary ski suit designed to give a freedom of movement like no other.

Along with what athletes have worn over the years, there is also a wide selection of the sporting equipment that they used to gain success. This includes the signed basketball of the legendary American ‘Dream Team’ of the 1992 Games, which for the first time allowed professionals such as the iconic Michael Jordan to participate for their country.

Symbols of the Olympic Games: Mascots and Torches

Memorabilia enthusiasts will also appreciate the large collection of Olympic Mascots. These are traditionally animals that represent Olympic values such as strength and perseverance, as well as usually being native to the hosting nation, thus symbolising their national pride.

The Olympic Torch collection reveals the extent of thought that goes into the design of each one. Visitors can learn about the meanings behind the aesthetic designs, as well as the historical relevance of the torches’ relays. The torch used in the first post-Second World War Games held in London in 1948 is a poignant example: the relay, known as the ‘Relay of Peace’, travelled throughout the countries most affected by the war. Artefacts such as these illustrate how connected the Olympic Games have been to historic events throughout the decades.

The Largest Olympic Coin Collection

One of the most impressive collections that the museum boasts is that of olympic coins and medals. Ranging from original medals presented in Athens in 1896 at the first Modern Era Olympic Games, to medals and commemorative coins used in more recent decades, the collection proves fascinating for collectors and casual visitors alike.

Although now closed for renovations until 2013, The Olympic Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in olympic memorabilia. Promising that the developments will have a strong focus on the 21st century, once re-opened the museum should continue to grow in popularity. Without a doubt, memorabilia from London 2012 – including The Royal Mint’s unique coin collection and the Victory Medals- will certainly make a fascinating contribution.

Purchase your own piece of the history from our London 2012 Collection now.