Tokyo 2020’s first medals awarded

The first Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals were awarded today. They have been produced using metals from nearly 79,000 tonnes of used phones and other electronic equipment donated by the Japanese public.

IOC President Thomas Bach attends the women’s 10m air rifle shooting competition © IOC / Greg Martin

Awarded, as is traditionally the case, by the IOC President, Thomas Bach, the first gold medal was claimed by Chinese shooter Yang Qian following her win in the 10m air rifle women's final. Anastasiia Galashina of the Russian Olympic Committee won silver, while Switzerland's Nina Christen claimed bronze.

The ceremony was held at the Asaka Shooting Range, where the Tokyo 1964 shooting competitions also took place. In line with the Tokyo 2020 COVID 19 countermeasures, the medallists themselves placed their medals around their necks.

IOC President Thomas Bach attends the women’s 10m air rifle shooting competition © IOC / Greg Martin

The medals and the medal ceremony podiums are among Tokyo 2020’s many initiatives that highlight the possibilities of a circular economy, in which products and materials are reused and recycled, rather than being disposed of.

The roughly 5,000 medals that will be awarded over the course of the Olympic and Paralympic Games were salvaged from nearly 79,000 tonnes of phones and other electronic equipment donated by the Japanese public – known as “urban mines”. Designed by Japanese designer KAWANISHI Junichi, the medals embody athletes’ hard work in their journey towards Olympic glory, as well as diversity. They resemble rough stones that have been polished to convey “light” and “brilliance”, symbolising the energy of the athletes and those who support them.

IOC President Thomas Bach attends the women’s 10m air rifle shooting competition © IOC / Greg Martin

The podiums are made from recycled plastic waste donated by Japanese citizens, as part of an initiative supported by Worldwide Olympic Partner P&G. More than 24 tonnes of used plastic were collected in just nine months as part of the initiative. The Olympic symbols embedded on them were made using aluminium waste recycled from temporary housing from the regions affected by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.

The flowers awarded to the athletes also come mainly from areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake, putting a spotlight on the region and its recovery.

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