"The Olympics used to include art competitions. Between 1912 and 1952, medals were awarded in architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture... An exhibition at the 1932 games drew 384,000 visitors to the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art...Text found in the Futility Closet. Image ("Jean Jacoby is the only artist to win two gold medals. He won his second with the above drawing, titled Rugby") credit here. Additional information at Wikipedia.
The categories included epic literature, chamber music, watercolors, and statuary; the 1928 games even included a competition in town planning.
In 1954 the art competitions were dropped because most of the participants were professionals, which was held to conflict with the ideals of the games. But the Olympic charter still requires hosts to include a cultural program “to promote harmonious relations, mutual understanding and friendship among the participants and others attending the Olympic Games.”"
You learn something every day.
Reposted from 2011.