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The Best Trophies in Sports (Individual Trophies)

Yesterday I ranked 11 of the best team trophies across the world of sports in the USA/Canada. This included the US Big 4 (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL), on top of a plethora of others.

Today I’m going to look at a variety of individual sports trophies/awards/medals/etc. Like yesterday, if you can think of any more I should add to the list, let me know in the comments!

 

Number 12: Monaco Grand Prix (Formula 1)

Lewis Hamilton (the driver in the first photo) may as well not bother catching the trophy in this first picture. It’s a shame.

The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the three races in the Triple-Crown of motorsport and while it’s trophy- recently designed from an old classic conical design that Lewis Hamilton also won– is an exact replica of the track itself at Monaco, it looks so bad.

I love Formula 1- congratulations to Max Verstappen on winning his first WDC this year- and with their being 22 events during the 2021 season, and thus 22 trophies to pick from, it felt wrong to choose anything other than Monaco because of its history.

It’s a shame.Embed from Getty Images

 

Number 11: WWE Championship Belt (“Wrestling”)

I don’t consider the WWE to really be a “sport”.

It’s all scripted. It’s all fake. It’s all ridiculous.

The belt is cool enough, I guess. But it’s not really ever deserved.

The WWE is not wrestling. Watch some NCAA wrestling and watch some WWE. One of those looks like a sport, the other looks like a bunch of shenanigans and lunacy.

If you like the WWE, be happy I ranked this higher than the Monaco Grand Prix trophy (which comes from a sport I actively engage and watch).Embed from Getty Images

 

Number 10: 24 Hours of LeMans Trophy (Endurance Racing)

Along with the Monaco Grand Prix- a major disappointment in a trophy- the 24 Hours of LeMans is another one of the races in the Triple Crown of Motorsport. Speaking of, if you haven’t seen the movie Ford vs. Ferrari I highly recommend that you do that this weekend. It’s very good for racing/motorsport fans and non-fans alike.

And while it does beat out Monaco for trophy design it also doesn’t impress me in the slightest. It looks like someone colored over those numbered candles you find at the grocery store and stuck in on top of very basic trophy stand design. For such a historic racing event, I wanted more here.Embed from Getty Images

 

Number 9: Kentucky Derby Trophy and Rose (Horse Racing)

The Kentucky Derby is the first of the three horse races towards the American Triple Crown- no, not the baseball thing- along with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. However, even though it comes first it breaks the old saying that the “first is the worst”. The Kentucky Derby is far and away the most notable of the major three races.

That being said, the trophy disappoints on both ends. First things first, the horse is the true champion and all they get is a garland of roses. The horse should get something cool and gold and shimmering and powerful. Second, the jockey gets a tiny little trophy with a horse perched on top. It’s very basic and it’s boring in a bad way.Embed from Getty Images

 

Number 8: Indy 500 Trophy (IndyCar)

On the surface, I do not like this trophy. IndyCar is a very fast-paced racing event and the Indianapolis 500 adds with the 24 Hours of LeMans and the Monaco Grand Prix (see #12) as another of the famous 3 racing tracks to drive in motorsport.

However, the many different faces on the trophy are creepy. I like that it’s consistent. I like that it has it’s history on it- like the Stanley Cup and Grey Cup- but the figures of former winners heads does not do it for me.

Yet, the figure on the top of the trophy and the black-and-white checkered flag is very very well done. It saves the trophy enough for me over the boring and other bad trophies that came before it on this list.Embed from Getty Images

 

Number 7: Tour de France Yellow/Green/Mountain/Young Rider Jerseys (Cycling)

Many people do not know that the yellow jersey in the Tour de France is not the only colored uniform that is awarded to riders throughout the 21-stage event. However, it is the most notable.

In order to wear the yellow jersey the rider must be the leader of the whole event at the end of each stage in the tour.

The green jersey goes to the rider with the most amount of points per stage, the mountain jersey (red polka-dots) for the rider with the most points after climb/mountain stages, and the young rider jersey (white) for the rider with the most points under 26 years old.

They’re all cool in their own rights and would all find themselves in this spot anyway.Embed from Getty Images

 

Number 6: UFC Title Belt (MMA)

Though the belt has changed since Conor McGregor won two of them in 2015 (see the last photo), the current UFC belt (the first two photos) are incredible.

For a sport that thrives on its being much more intense and with fighters that have true personalities over other combat sports, the black leather with a golden piece on it puts out the exact message that Dana White, Joe Rogan, and the rest of the UFC want to get across.

These aren’t guys you would want to fight. They are beasts, and the title belt shows that. I only wish it differed a little between weight classes.Embed from Getty Images

 

Number 5: WBC World Heavyweight Title (Boxing)

There have been many variations of the WBC Heavyweight Title Belts over the years and even though we looked at multiple trophies (or well jerseys) from cycling those are all currently in circulation during the Tour de France. However, I regress to the main point: the WBC World Heavyweight belt is the best of the boxing belts.

While the green color is interesting, the design on the belt itself is incredibly cool and well done. While the many colors may come across as overbearing to the eyes, the small figure of each works. It also helps that each is a different country flag which definitely boosts this for me as I’m an amateur vexillologist. They played to what I like, good job WBC.Embed from Getty Images

 

Number 4: Daytona 500 Trophy (NASCAR)

Stock Car Racing may be seen as something that is “lower-class”, but the history of the sport of NASCAR is truly really fun to learn. If you’re a historian of sport like myself, you’d know that the origins of NASCAR goes back to the days of Prohibition in the United States and the many people who would tune their cars to they could run moonshine across the country and avoid the police. Eventually, these drivers wanted to know who was the best and like that they had a sport.

Now, the Daytona 500 is the biggest stock-car racing event of the year and is always the opening race. For such a race, it deserves- and has- an absolutely amazing trophy. A base with all the previous winners names engraved, designed to emulate the track itself, and a nice silver car perched right on top. Oh, and the thing is massive.

Drivers get to take home a replica- which is also massive- though is pails in comparison to the real thing.Embed from Getty Images

 

Number 3: Augusta Green Jacket (Golf)

In order to win a Grand Slam- no, not the baseball kind- a golfer must win the PGA Tour, the US Open, The [British] Open, and the Masters.

Of the four events, the Masters in Augusta, Georgia is the most prestigious and comes with what may be the most interesting type of trophy in sports. After winning the 4-day tournament with the lowest combined score, the winner gets a green jacket.

When at the Masters- if not playing- each winner must wear the green jacket, and they are not allowed, under any circumstance, to take the jacket off the Augusta grounds. And, even if you win multiple Masters tournaments you can only ever win one green jacket.

While these restrictions may seem like they’re overly demanding, it does make the jacket that much cooler. It has one place with one elite and prestigious club.Embed from Getty Images

 

Number 2: Wimbledon Trophies (Men’s and Women’s Tennis)

In order to achieve a grand slam- no, not the baseball one- in tennis, players must play and win each of the: Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open. This tests players abilities on all different court types: clay (France), hard-top (Australia and USA), and grass (Wimbledon).

Of the four, the oldest tournament is the Wimbledon which started in 1877. It also is the one that has the best trophies of the tennis tournaments as well. With two very distinctive trophies for the men’s and women’s tournaments, they are clearly distinguished from the rest.

It’s not cheating to put two trophies together, right?Embed from Getty Images

 

Number 1: Olympic Gold Medal (Multiple Sports)

If you read yesterday’s list, it may seem crazy that I put the gold medal as the #1 spot on my list today. However, I don’t think that there really is anything that compares to winning a gold medal.

Yes, it can be won in a team setting (basketball, hockey, etc.) but a vast majority of the gold medals come in individual sports (track and field, gymnastics, swimming, etc.) of which- if you own one- you are/were the best person in the world at what ever sport you were playing. Yes, the fact that table tennis awards gold medals brings down the allure, but it can also only be won once every 4 years. A gold medal has the history, the allure, and the status of greatness, fame, and athleticism. It’s the pinnacle of awards in sports.

It’s simple, it’s iconic, and the designs are- especially in more recent Olympic games- have started to be distinctive and (mostly) cool in their own right. (In order: Sochi 2014, Beijing 2008, and Turin 2006 have the three best designs.)Embed from Getty Images

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