For a major event such as the Olympic Games, a distinction between spectators, participants, organisers and other stakeholders is extremely important.
As early as the 1896 Olympic Games, this need had been recognised. Normal tickets were printed for spectators whilst badges made of cardboard were issued for the athletes, judges and members of the Olympic Committee. In subsequent games, the badges became more and more numerous and were fashioned from metal in the contemporaneous artistic style. They were often embellished with coloured bands, numbered and the function of the holder was engraved or printed on them.
Apart from these badges, identity cards for accredited participants and officials were introduced very early in modern Olympic history. These identity cards bore the holder’s photograph and a reference to his/her function.
Thanks to new techniques, over the years, the identity cards have been progressively developed from a simple piece of cardboard to a document with numerous security features.
Both badges and identity cards offer collectors a commendable and varied potential for collection.