[The Fountain] The twists and turns of the World Cup trophy

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[The Fountain] The twists and turns of the World Cup trophy

The author is the deputy sports news editor at the JoongAng Ilbo.

Argentina won the World Cup for the first time in 36 years. The FIFA World Cup trophy is simply called the FIFA Cup. This is the second trophy, after the first, the Jules Rimet Trophy, was awarded from the 1930 Uruguay World Cup until the 1970 Mexico World Cup. Starting with the 1974 West Germany World Cup, the trophy is to be used until the 2038 event.
As the world’s most prestigious soccer trophy, it underwent twists and turns in its near century of history.
The Jules Rimet Trophy was designed by French sculptor Abel Lafleur. The trophy has the shape of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, holding it up. The trophy was named after Jules Rimet, the former FIFA president and founder of the World Cup. The octagonal base is made of 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of lapis lazuli, and the upper part, including the cup, is made of 1.8 kilograms of pure gold. It is 38 centimeters (1.2 feet) tall.
After winning the French World Cup in 1938, the Italian Football Association hid their trophy in an old shoe box to protect it from the Nazis. Before the 1966 London World Cup, it was stolen while on display at Westminster Hall and was recovered a week later. As Brazil won for the third time in 1970, it secured the right to keep it permanently. But after being stolen again in 1983, the original trophy has never been recovered. Brazil currently has a replica.
The FIFA Cup, the successor to the Jules Rimet Trophy, is the work of Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga. It consists of a 15-centimiter-diameter green malachite pedestal with two players supporting the earth. It is 36 centimeters high and weighs 4.97 kilograms. Unlike the Jules Rimet Trophy, it is made of 18 karat gold plating. The winning country and year can be engraved at the bottom of the pedestal.
After the theft of the Jules Rimet Trophy, FIFA will keep the trophy permanently regardless of the number of wins. The original is briefly presented at the final award ceremony and a replica is given to the winner. Since the FIFA Cup was introduced, only the players or the head of states who had won the World Cup can touch it. The trophy created at the cost of $50,000 is now worth over $20 million.
Above all, the true value of the FIFA Cup comes from the rarity that only the World Cup winner can have once every four years. Argentina’s Lionel Messi posted a photo of himself enjoying a cup of coffee holding the FIFA Cup in his arms on social media. The charm of something “not everyone can have” is always fascinating.
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