A trophy is a tangible, durable reminder of a specific achievement, and serves as recognition or evidence of merit. Trophies are often awarded for sporting events, from youth sports to professional level athletics. In many sports medals (or, in North America, rings) are often given out either as the trophy or along with more traditional trophies.
Originally the word trophy, derived from the Greek tropaion, referred to arms, standards, other property, or human captives and body parts (e.g., headhunting) captured in battle. These war trophies commemorated the military victories of a state, army or individual combatant. In modern warfare trophy taking is discouraged, but this sense of the word is reflected in hunting trophies and human trophy collecting by serial killers.
A slang term for an individual or team's collection of trophies is silverware.
Trophies have marked victories since ancient times. The word trophy, coined in English in 1550, was derived from the French trophée in 1513, "a prize of war", from Old French trophee, from Latin trophaeum, monument to victory, variant of tropaeum, which in turn is the latinisation of the Greek τρόπαιον (tropaion), the neuter of τροπαῖος (tropaios), "of defeat" or "for defeat", but generally "of a turning" or "of a change", from τροπή (tropē), "a turn, a change" and that from the verb τρέπω (trepo), "to turn, to alter".
In ancient Greece, trophies were made on the battlefields of victorious battles, from captured arms and standards, and were hung upon a tree or a large stake made to resemble a warrior. Often, these ancient trophies were inscribed with a story of the battle and were dedicated to various gods. Trophies made about naval victories sometimes consisted of entire ships (or what remained of them) laid out on the beach. To destroy a trophy was considered a sacrilege.
The ancient Romans kept their trophies closer to home. The Romans built magnificent trophies in Rome, including columns and arches atop a foundation. Most of the stone trophies that once adorned huge stone memorials in Rome have been long since stolen.
In ancient Greece, the winners of the Olympic games initially received no trophies except laurel wreaths. Later the winner also received an amphora with sacred olive oil. In local games, the winners received different trophies, such as a tripod vase, a bronze shield or a silver cup.
In ancient Rome, money usually was given to winners instead of trophies.
Chalices were given to winners of sporting events at least as early as the very late 1600s in the New World. For example, the Kyp Cup (made by silversmith Jesse Kyp), a small, two-handled, sterling cup in the Henry Ford Museum, was given to the winner of a horse race between two towns in New England in about 1699. Chalices, particularly, are associated with sporting events, and were traditionally made in silver. Winners of horse races, and later boating and early automobile races, were the typical recipients of these trophies. The Davis Cup, Stanley Cup, America's Cup and numerous World Cups are all now famous cup-shaped trophies given to sports winners.
Today, the most common trophies are much less expensive, and thus much more pervasive, thanks to mass-produced plastic/resin trophies.
The oldest sports trophies in the world are the Carlisle Bells, a horse racing trophy dating back to 1559 and 1599 and were first awarded by Elizabeth I. The race has been run for over 400 years in Carlisle, Cumbria, United Kingdom. The bells are on show at the local museum, Tullie House, which houses a variety of historic artifacts from the area from Roman legions to present day.
Contemporary trophies often depict an aspect of the event commemorated, for example in basketball tournaments, the trophy takes the shape of a basketball player, or a basketball. Trophies have been in the past objects of use such as two-handled cups, bowls, or mugs (all usually engraved); or representations such as statues of people, animals, and architecture while displaying words, numbers or images. While trophies traditionally have been made with metal figures, wood columns, and wood bases, in recent years they have been made with plastic figures and marble bases. This is to retain the weight traditionally associated with a quality award and make them more affordable to use as recognition items. Trophies increasingly have used resin depictions.
The Academy Awards Oscar is a trophy with a stylized human; the Hugo Award for science fiction is a space ship; and the Wimbledon awards for its singles champions are a large loving cup for men and a large silver plate for women.
Hunting trophies are reminders of successes from hunting animals, such as an animal's head mounted to be hung on a wall. Theres also people who get their animals Taxidermy, where you can have just the head, or you can have the full animal stuffed; and put out for show.
Perpetual trophies are held by the winner until the next event, when the winner must compete again in order to keep the trophy. In some competitions winners in a certain number of consecutive or non-consecutive events receive the trophy or its copy in permanent ownership.
Some sporting trophies include:
Some of the world's most famous football trophies are:
- FIFA World Cup Trophy — Awarded to the winners of the FIFA World Cup from the 1974 FIFA World Cup onwards. Previous winners were awarded the Jules Rimet Trophy (known simply as Victory until 1949), which was awarded in perpetuity to Brazil after their 3rd win in the 1970 FIFA World Cup. Both are referred to colloquially as the World Cup
- Copa Libertadores Trophy — Known simply as Libertadores or Copa, awarded to the winners of the Copa Libertadores since 1960. It is one of the most prestigious laurels in the Western Hemisphere.
- European Champion Clubs' Cup - colloquially the European Cup, awarded to the winners of the European Cup (before 1992–93) and the UEFA Champions League (since 1992–93). It is the most prestigious trophy in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is affectionately known as "old big ears" due to its shape.
- The FA Cup — Awarded to winners of the primary English domestic football knockout tournament, officially The Football Association Challenge Cup, often referred to as just the FA Cup. The FA Cup was inaugurated in 1871 and is therefore the oldest tournament in club football. The original trophy, however, was stolen in 1895 and the current trophy design, which was first awarded in 1911, is actually the fifth incarnation in total.
- The Scottish Cup — Awarded to the winners of the primary domestic knockout cup tournament of Scotland (the Scottish Football Association Challenge Cup, or just Scottish Cup). The tournament was founded in 1873 and still presents the original trophy. The Scottish Cup is therefore the world's oldest national football trophy and second oldest national trophy, behind the Carlisle Bells race trophy dating back to 1599.
The original Jules Rimet Trophy was stolen in Brazil in 1983 and has never been recovered. Replicas were awarded to winning nations up to the retirement of the genuine trophy. However, prior to the 1966 final, The Football Association made an (unauthorised) replica in secret in gilded bronze for use in post-match celebrations due to security concerns – the genuine trophy was made out of close to 2 kg of pure gold. This has led to several conspiracy theories regarding which trophy was stolen – the FA replica, or the real trophy. FIFA purchased the replica for £254,500 (ten times the reserve price) in 1997, with the inflated price attributed to such rumours. This trophy is held on behalf of FIFA by the National Football Museum in Preston. The current FIFA World Cup trophy inscribe the names of the teams that won the award at the underneath the base of the trophy.
A club that manages to win the Copa Libertadores trophy three consecutive times retain the trophy permanently. The current trophy has been used since 1975. Like the FIFA World Cup trophy, the winners of each edition of the tournament has their name inscribed on the trophy; unlike the FIFA World Cup trophy, a pedestal contains a list of winners in the form of badges. The current pedestal is the fourth in the trophy's history, having been used since 2009. The original trophy was awarded to Estudiantes de La Plata in 1970 (after their third win) - the present trophy is the third, identical edition.
Until 2009, clubs that win the European Champion Clubs' Cup three times in successive seasons, or five times in total, were permitted to retain the trophy in perpetuity. The present trophy has been used since 2005–06 after Liverpool's fifth win in 2005. The original trophy was awarded to Real Madrid in 1966 (after their sixth win) — the present trophy is the sixth incarnation overall.
Four trophies have served as an award (out of five made) for the winner of the FA Cup. The first (1871–1895) was stolen in Birmingham and melted down, the second (1896–1910) was presented to Lord Kinnaird and is held by David Gold, the chairman of Birmingham City after private auction in 2005. The third (1910–1992) was retired after the 1992 final due to fragility and is held by The Football Association; two exact replicas of it were made, one of which has been awarded to the winners (1993–2013), the other remains as a backup in case of damage to the primary trophy. The same design was recast and was unveiled in 2014 to be more durable.
- Wimbledon tennis trophies - although having no formal name, a cup is presented to the Wimbledon Men's (Gentlemen's) Singles Champion (The All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Champion of the World, as stated on the cup itself). The women's (Ladies) Singles winner is presented with the Venus Rosewater Dish. Other trophies are presented to the winners of the Doubles and Mixed Doubles.
- Challenge Cup, rugby league's oldest knock-out competition. Notable for the wide range of teams which start, some taken from amateur ranks, "developing nations" and university teams.
- Cricket World Cup Trophy - Awarded to the Winners of the ICC Cricket World Cup.
- The Ashes urn – widely considered to be presented as a trophy to the winning team of the biennial cricket Test series between England and Australia. However, the urn itself has never been a trophy and remains in the MCC Cricket Museum at Lord's Cricket Ground. Only from 1998–99 were the winners of the Ashes presented with a replica (not to scale) of the urn in Waterford Crystal.
Australian rules football
- Summoner's Cup - Awarded to the winning team of the League of Legends World Championship.
- Sid Waddell trophy - Awarded to the winner of the PDC World Darts Championship.
- Gillam Trophy - A prestigious New Zealand darts trophy.
American and Canadian sports
- College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy – Awarded to the winner of the College Football Playoff
- Heisman Trophy – Awarded to the NCAA's Most Valuable Player in College Football
- BCS Trophy – Awarded to College Football's National Champion
- Vanier Cup – Awarded to the Canadian Interuniversity Sport football champion
- Grey Cup – Awarded to the Canadian Football League's champion
- Calder Cup – Awarded to the American Hockey League's playoff champion
- Stanley Cup – Awarded to the National Hockey League's Stanley Cup Champion
- Sprint Cup Trophy – Awarded to the NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series Champion
- Commissioner's Trophy – Awarded to Major League Baseball's World Series Champion
- Vince Lombardi Trophy – Awarded to the National Football League's Super Bowl champion
- Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy – Awarded to the National Basketball Association's champion
- MLS Cup – Awarded to the Major League Soccer's champion
- Mann Cup – An Indoor Lacrosse trophy awarded to the senior men's lacrosse champions of Canada.
- Steinfeld Cup – Awarded to the Major League Lacrosse champion
- Champion's Cup – Awarded to the National Lacrosse League champion
- Kentucky Derby Trophy – Awarded to the winner of the Kentucky Derby.
- Woodlawn Vase – Awarded to the winner of the Preakness Stakes. Most valuable trophy in sports at $4,000,000+ US dollars. Designed by Tiffany & Co. in 1860
- August Belmont Trophy – Awarded to the winner of the Belmont Stakes.
- Memorial Cup – Awarded to the winner of the Canadian Hockey League.
- Clarkson Cup – Awarded to the top team in Canadian women's hockey.
- Wooden NCAA National Championship Trophy – Awarded to the winner of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament
Many combat sports, such as boxing, mixed martial arts, and professional wrestling use championship belts as trophies; however, unlike most of the trophies mentioned above, a new one is not created every time a new champion is crowned; rather, the new champion takes the belt from the old one.
The United States military also issues a type of trophy which are known as "non-portable decorations". This indicates that the trophy carries the status of a military award, but is not meant to be worn on a uniform but rather is presented for static display. Such military trophies include athletic excellence awards, unit excellence awards, and superior service awards presented annually to the top service member of a command.
Many professional associations award trophies in recognition of outstanding work in their respective fields. Some examples of such awards include:
- Academy Award – Awarded by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for excellence in the Film Industry.
- Collier Trophy – Awarded by the US National Aeronautics Association for outstanding work in aviation engineering.
- Harmon Trophy – Awarded by the Clifford B. Harmon Trust for outstanding achievement in aviation or ballooning.
- Tony Award – Awarded by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League for excellence in live theater in New York City.
- Emmy Award – Awarded by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for excellence in the Television industry.
- Grammy Award – Awarded by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for excellence in the Music industry.
- Golden Globes – Awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association recognizing excellence in film and television. The statuettes are manufactured by the New York firm Society Awards.
- MTV Video Music Award – Awarded by MTV to honor the best in the music video medium. The moonman is manufactured by the New York firm Society Awards.
- Academy of Country Music Awards – Awarded for achievements in country music. The “hat” trophy is manufactured by the New York firm Society Awards.
- Billboard Music Award – Awarded by billboard to honor outstanding chart performance. The trophy is manufactured by the New York firm Society Awards.
- NAACP Image Award – Awarded for excellence in film, television, music, and literature by outstanding people of color. The trophy is manufactured by the New York firm Society Awards.
- D&AD Awards - Awarded for excellence within design and advertising
In hunting, although competition trophies like those mentioned above can be awarded, the word trophy more typically refers to an item made from the body of a killed animal and kept as a keepsake. See taxidermy.
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