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From 1912 to 1952, architectural medals were awarded in the Olympic Games. Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin, viewed art competitions as a critical part of the full mind and body education that the Games promoted. While the official celebration of the arts ended some six decades ago, art and architecture remain a central component of the Olympic experience.

We all remember the pageantry of the opening and closing ceremonies, which serve to highlight the cultural achievements of the host nations. We also remember the host venues of these magnificent events. Often purpose built, sometimes simply refurbished, the Olympic Stadium is one of the Games' biggest stars.

Other venues capture attention too. Pools meld groundbreaking architecture and unprecedented athletic performance. Velodromes become bastions of technical ingenuity. And, ice rinks link civic pride to speed and the thrill of one on one competition.

There is no doubting the role of architecture in the Olympics. With that in mind, we look back at Olympic history from 1896 to 2012 to select the buildings that changed the nature of architecture and witnessed the greatest feats in sports history.

The 50 Best Buildings In Olympic History