Double Take: Canadian Composer Awarded Olympic Medal

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Russell Sabio reported yesterday on CBC’s arts page The Buzz about an unlikely story that connects music to the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) used to award Olympic medals in the arts. The practise was halted in 1948 when it was determined by the IOC that the presence of professional artists was not in keeping with the Olympic spirit of amateurism.

Nonetheless, Olympic arts medals were awarded from 1912 to 1948 for sport-related works in categories of architecture, design, painting, music, literature, and sculpture.

In 1948, Canadian composer John Weinzweig was awarded the Olympic silver medal for his composition Divertiment No. 1. He became the only Canadian musician to earn the distinction of being an Olympic medalist.

John Weinzweig’s step-grandson is Zach Paikin, living in Hamilton. Zach is shown below holding the only Olympic medal awarded to a Canadian musician. Thanks to Zach and to Larry Paikin for sharing this story!

Zach Paikin holds the Olympic Silver Medal in
Music, awarded to John Weinzweig in 1948. Photo by
Daniel Weinzweig, John’s son.

To read the full CBC article, click here.

To read “Would Sports Be As Good Without The Music?” click here.