Looking Back: Vancouver 2010 Winter Games Athlete Medals

The following was originally published at www.vancouver2010.com:

As unique as the world’s top athletes, every medal won at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be a one-of-a-kind work of art — a first in Games history. They are among the heaviest medals in Olympic and Paralympic history, weighing between 500 grams and 576 g.

The stories and dreams of Olympic and Paralympic athletes helped shape the medals, produced by the Royal Canadian Mint with metals supplied by Canadian mining and metals giant Teck Resources Limited. Their dramatic form was inspired by ocean waves, drifting snow and the mountainous landscapes found in the Games region and across Canada.

The Vancouver 2010 medals are based on two large master artworks of an orca whale (Olympic) and raven (Paralympic) by Corrine Hunt, a Canadian designer/artist of Komoyue and Tlingit heritage based in Vancouver, BC. Canadian industrial designer and architect Omer Arbel, also of Vancouver, used his extensive knowledge of materials and fabrication processes to create the innovative undulating design of the medals, which are struck nine times each to achieve the distinctive look as part of the 30-step medal fabrication process. Each medal has a unique, hand-cropped section of the art, making it a one-of-a-kind treasure. A silk scarf printed with the master artwork will be presented to each medallist along with their medal, enabling them to see how their medal connects with those awarded to other athletes at the Games to make the whole design.

On the reverse side, the medals contain the official names of the Games in English and French, as well as Vancouver 2010’s distinctive emblems, and the name of the sport and event the medal was awarded in. On the Paralympic medals, braille is also used. The Games motto With Glowing Hearts/Des plus brillants exploits is written in white lettering on the medals’ blue and green ribbon.

The Royal Canadian Mint will produce 615 Olympic and 399 Paralympic medals at their headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, for the 2010 Winter Games. The materials used to produce the medals consist of 2.05 kilograms of gold, 1,950 kilograms of silver and 903 kilograms of copper.

Click here to read the original article.

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