Over 75 years ago, a young digger from Essendon made his way ashore at Pylos harbor on the southwestern coast of the Peloponnese.
What's a competition without a prize for the victor? Sure, bragging rights are nice; but, a trophy is a constant reminder of victory.
Trophies are the ultimate reward. They're a visual representation of accomplishment. But, they've come to mean more than just winning the championship match or getting a perfect score. They symbolize years of hard work and sacrifice.
In professional sports, championship trophies have gained just as much notoriety as the athletes who earn them. Athletes continue to compete for such tokens of greatness and glory. Below are six of the most illustrious sports trophies in the world.
FIFA World Cup
With an estimated 250 million players and over 1.3 billion spectators, football is the most popular global sport. So, it comes as no surprise that the FIFA World Cup is one of the most iconic trophies in the world. The current trophy has a malachite base and a body of 18-carat gold.
America was a 100-foot schooner from New York City and winner of the first international yacht race in 1857. As reward, they received the Hundred Guinea Cup, later renamed in their honour as the America's Cup.
The America's Cup is one of the hardest trophies to win. The race around the Isle of Wight takes expert sailing skills and equally impressive fundraising efforts. It wasn't until 1983 that the Royal Perth Yacht Club overthrew the defending champions and became the second owner of the America's Cup.
The Stanley Cup
Each year, the National Hockey League awards its playoff winner with the Stanley Cup. Montreal Hockey Club was the first to win The Cup over 100 years ago in 1893. The Cup has a unique feature: its ever-expanding chalice.
The banded barrel contains the engraved names of every recipient. Engravers used to add a new band each year. Now, they replace the oldest band with a blank once each band reaches its max of 13 champion teams. The original band rests in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Wimbledon was the first official lawn tennis tournament and is one of the oldest sporting events in history. Spencer Gore first won the Gentlemen's
Single title in 1877. He received 12 guineas and a silver challenge cup as an award.
Atop the cup sits a miniature pineapple. In 17th-century England, Brits revered pineapples as a luxury. They were so highly sought after that they became a status symbol. Today, the annual Wimbledon winners receive replica trophies, complete with the gilded pineapple.
The Calcutta (Rugby) Football Club found it hard to retain members. As a result, the club closed and used their remaining resources to craft a silver trophy-literally. They melted down and moulded 270 silver rupee coins into what became the Calcutta Cup.
They donated the trophy to England's Rugby Football Union on conditions the union use it 'as the best means of doing some lasting good for the cause of Rugby Football'. In 1879, the organization began using the trophy for international competitions.
The union continues to host matches for the Calcutta Cup. Each year, it's awarded to the winner of the Six Nations Championship match between
England and Scotland. However, the original cup is no longer active. It remains in fragile condition after years of mistreatment. Instead, both nations have full-size replicas.
Olympic Gold Medal
The 2016 Summer Olympic Games are almost upon us. Soon, every nation will be vying for the title of 'World's Best'. Representing your country in the Olympics is an achievement in itself. But, bringing home the gold is one the most patriotic and celebrated accomplishments of any athlete's career.
For centuries, trophies have been viewed as a sign of honour and success. If you want to honour the outstanding athletes in your life with their own token of victory, feel free to take a look at our trophy catalogue.