Hidden Stories Behind Cup-Shaped Trophies
We’ve all seen those iconic photos of sports legends holding aloft massive cups or shields as they bask in the glory of their victories. From Kapil Dev’s triumphant moment with the Prudential World Cup in 1983 to the annual celebrations at Wimbledon, sports trophies have a distinctive design – usually large cups with handles. But have you ever wondered why this tradition persists?
Roots in Ancient Greece
Travel back to ancient Greece, where the Olympics were born, and chariot races were epic contests. The main prize for victors? A substantial container of prized olive oil. This liquid gold was highly esteemed, and winning a colossal cup full of it was a symbol of great honor. Thus, the tradition of sports trophies shaped like cups began. The ancient Romans followed suit, adopting this practice.
Shields and Plates
Beyond cups, sometimes winners received shields, a symbol of protection and longevity. A presenter gifting a shield was essentially wishing a long and healthy life for the victorious athlete. Plates also entered the mix, ornamental and laden with gold coins and luxurious prizes. The Venus Rosewater Dish at Wimbledon, awarded for the women’s singles title, is a modern example of a plate-shaped trophy.
Cups, Bowls, and Plates as Rewards
Cups, bowls, and plates were synonymous with feasts and celebrations. Rewarding the victor with a cup or plate, laden with various contents, became a way of recognizing and appreciating their struggle and effort.
UK’s Role in Shaping Trophy Traditions
Fast forward to the UK, a sports hub where many modern sports originated. Over 100 years ago, after winning a tournament, teams celebrated by passing around a common cup and indulging in a celebratory drink. This practice contributed to the tradition of awarding large cups to winning teams.
The UK boasts some of the oldest sports trophies, such as the Carlisle Bells trophy for horse racing, dating back to 1599. In archery, the Scorton Silver Arrow trophy competition was held in 1673 in Yorkshire, UK.
India’s Rich Sporting History
India has a rich sporting heritage, with ancient sports like archery, wrestling, and chariot racing. While the prizes back then may not have been cups, modern-day India has witnessed historic sports tournaments. The Calcutta Rugby Cup, initiated by the Calcutta Rugby Club in 1872, marked a British influence on sports.
India’s Durand Cup, the oldest football tournament starting in 1888, has a trophy named after Sir Henry Mortimer Durand, India’s foreign secretary from 1884 to 1894. Beginning as a football tournament for Indian army regiments, it expanded to include other teams over time.
So, when Indian sports heroes lift those coveted cups and shields, they carry on a legacy rooted in ancient traditions, celebrating not just their victories but also the enduring history of sportsmanship and triumph.