Produced by the Brazilian Mint, the 5,130 medals for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be symbols of sustainability and accessibility as well as sporting excellence. The coveted prizes, which weigh 500g each, comprise 30 per cent recycled silver and bronze while the ribbons are made from 50 per cent recycled PET. Meanwhile, the gold medals are completely free of mercury.
The gold medals are purer than ever, meeting sustainability criteria from extraction to refining, as well as meeting strict environmental and labour laws. They make use of recycled raw silver at 92.5 per cent purity, coming from leftover mirrors, waste solders and X-ray plates. And 40 per cent of the copper used in the bronze medals came from waste at the Mint itself. The substance was melted and decontaminated to provide material for the medals.
“Today starts the final countdown for the first Games in South America,” said Thomas Bach, IOC president. Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of the Rio 2016 Committee, added: “The medals are one of the biggest symbols of the Games and they are the most beautiful in the world.”
The Olympic medal design includes the traditional laurel leaf while the Paralympic prizes feature engravings representing the “seeds of courage, persistence and development of the athletes.” As is tradition, the reverse side of the medal displays an etching of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory.
Athletes who make it onto the Olympic podium will receive their medal in a sustainably sourced wooden box along with a sculpture of the Rio 2016 logo. Commemorative gold, silver, bronze and golden bronze medals will be available to buy.
The event also revealed the design of the podiums, which are made from wood and adorned with foliage in keeping with the natural “Look” of the Games. And the outfits to be worn by those presenting the medals were also modelled. The winning designer and Rio local, Andrea Marques, incorporated spring-inspired colours, prints and pure cotton into her design. “The basic idea was that the clothes translate the idea of Rio as a welcoming city,” she said.