AskDefine | Define podium

Dictionary Definition

podium n : a platform raised above the surrounding level to give prominence to the person on it [syn: dais, pulpit, rostrum, ambo, stump, soapbox] [also: podia (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • a UK /ˈpəʊ.dɪi.ʌm/ /"p@U.di:.Vm/


  1. A platform on which to stand, as when conducting an orchestra or preaching at a pulpit
  2. A stand used to hold notes when speaking publicly


Usage notes

  • Some people object to the "stand for holding notes" sense on the grounds that, because of its etymology, "podium" ought to refer to something that is stood upon (or that at least pertains to the feet in some way).


Extensive Definition

For the 2004 film directed by Yann Moix, see Podium (film).
A podium (plural podia) is a platform that is used to raise something to a short distance above its surroundings. In architecture a building can rest on a large podium. Podia can also be used to raise people, for instance the conductor of an orchestra stands on a podium as do many public speakers. Additionally, podium has commonly come to mean the object a speaker stands behind and sets papers or books upon, even when it is at floor level, though the proper term for that item is a lectern. The terms are not interchangeable.
One common type of podium is used to honour medalists in sporting events such as the Olympics. In the Olympics a three level podium is used, the highest level in the centre holds the gold medalist, to their right is a somewhat lower one for the silver medalist. To the left of the gold medalist is an even lower platform for the bronze medalist. Some sports, most notably rowing shun podia, and the symbolism they represent.
Similar podia are used in motorsport, where the first three finishers will usually stand on one at the end of the race to receive trophies. Notable exceptions are the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500 races which have different historic customs. In motor racing, the term is frequently used to refer to a top three placing (as in "he'll get a podium").

First use at Olympics

According to Professor Emeritus Robert K. Barney, the University of Western Ontario's founding director of Western's International Centre for Olympic Studies, the idea of having winning athletes mount a podium while they received their medals, is a Canadian idea born in Hamilton, Ontario in 1930.
Professor Barney's 25-page research paper in the International Journal of Olympic Studies indicates podia were first used at the 1930 British Empire Games (now Commonwealth Games) in Hamilton and subsequently during the 1932 Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles and Winter Games in Lake Placid.

Usage in Motorsport

In many forms of motorsport, the three top-placed drivers in a race stand on a podium for the trophy ceremony. In an international series, the national anthem of the winning driver, and the winning team or constructor may be played and the flags of the drivers' countries are hoisted above them.
Following the presentation of the trophies, the drivers will often spray champagne over each other and their team-members watching below, a tradition started by Dan Gurney following the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans race. Occasionally the drivers will refrain from spraying the champagne as a mark of respect for a fatality during the event.
The term has become common parlance in the media, where a driver may be said to "be heading for a podium finish" or "just missing out on a podium" when he is heading for, or just misses out on a top three finish.
NASCAR, the highest level of stock car racing in the United States, does not have a three-person podium. Instead the race winner celebrates with his team in Victory Lane.


See also

podium in French: Podium (architecture)
podium in Dutch: Podium (architectuur)
podium in Malay (macrolanguage): Podium
podium in Norwegian: Podium
podium in Polish: Podium
podium in Portuguese: Podium
podium in Russian: Подиум
podium in Finnish: Palkintokoroke
podium in Swedish: Podium

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

balcony, catafalque, dais, emplacement, estrade, floor, gallery, heliport, hustings, landing, landing pad, landing stage, launching pad, platform, pulpit, rostrum, soapbox, stage, step terrace, stump, terrace, tribunal, tribune
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