Rio 2016 reveals Olympic medals, celebrating nature and sustainability
Nearly 2,500 gold, silver and bronze medals produced according to strict sustainability criteria
With 52 days until the world’s best athletes go into battle in the Olympic Games, Rio 2016 and the Brazilian Mint have unveiled the medals they will be competing with each other to win.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach, who was present at the launch event in Barra Olympic Park, said: "Today marks the start of the final countdown to the first Olympic Games to be staged in South America."
Bearing a design that celebrates the relationship between the strengths of Olympic heroes and the forces of nature, the 500g gold, silver and bronze medals have been made with sustainability at their heart.
The athletes who top the podium in Rio will receive medals made from gold that has been extracted without the use of mercury and which was produced according to strict sustainability criteria, from the initial mining all the way through to the design of the end product.
The medals feature images of Nike, the Panathinaiko Stadium and the Acropolis (Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro)
The silver and bronze medals have been produced using 30 per cent recycled materials. Half of the plastic in the ribbons which will be used to hang the medals around athletes’ necks comes from recycled plastic bottles. The rounded cases that hold the medals were made from freijó wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
A total of 2,488 medals have been produced: 812 gold, 812 silver and 864 bronze.
For the first time, the medals are slightly thicker at their central point compared with their edges. The name of the event for which the medal was won is engraved by laser along the outside edge.
The designs feature laurel leaves – a symbol of victory in ancient Greece, in the form of the wreaths awarded to competition winners – surrounding the Rio 2016 Olympic logo. The laurel leaves represent the link between the force of nature and Olympians.
According to Olympic Games tradition, the other side of the medals features an image of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory with the Panathinaiko Stadium and the Acropolis in the background.
The medal cases are made from wood from certified sustainable sources (Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro)
The Paralympic Games medals, which feature a special innovation, have also been revealed. They have a tiny device inside which makes a noise when the medal is shaken, allowing visually impaired athletes to know if they are gold, silver or bronze (gold has the loudest noise, bronze the quietest).
(Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro)
Also revealed at the event on Tuesday (14 June) at the Future Arena, were the podiums (above), which are made from organic materials and celebrate the tropical nature of Brazil. The podiums have been designed to be reused as furniture after the Games. Also in line with Rio 2016's commitment to sustainability, the medal trays that the presenters will use are made of certified Curupixá wood.
Volunteers show off the medal presenters' uniforms (Photo: Rio 2016/Saulo Guimarães)
The uniforms that will be worn by the medal presenters were also unveiled at the event. Inspired by the natural beauty of Rio and by Brazilian culture and fashion, the uniforms were designed by Rio-based stylist Andrea Marques, who won a competition curated by Paulo Borges, the creative director of São Paulo Fashion Week.
"The main idea is that the clothes portray Rio de Janeiro as a welcoming city," said Marques.
Athletes will also receive a wooden sculpture of the Rio 2016 logo (Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro)
The Rio 2016 medals were produced with sustainability in mind: the gold medals are 100% free of mercury and the silver medals are made up of 30% recycled material. Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
2,488 medals were produced for the Olympic Games. For the Paralympic Games 2,642 were made, each of them with a device inside, producing different sounds depending on whether gold, silver or bronze. Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
These medals (the gold medal pictured) will be what the champions of each of the 42 sports contested at the Rio 2016 Games will wear proudly on their chests atop the podium. Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
Accompanying these pieces of precious metal, of course, is the ribbon, which is made up of 50% recycled polyester polyethylene terephthalate (PET) material. Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
The traditional laurel wreath appears on the faces of the medals, representing the relationship between the forces of nature and the Olympic heroes. Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
The medals are slightly raised in the centre compared to the edges and weigh around 500 grams. Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
Together with the medals, athletes will receive a case in which they can keep the symbols of their victories. Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
The cases are made of wood sourced only from areas where activity is sustainable and socially responsible. Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
The launch event took place this Tuesday (14 June) at the Future Arena, home of handball and goalball at the Rio 2016 Games. Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
IOC president Thomas Bach hoped the Olympic slogan would be a message to engage future generations - and his wish was granted. This is the Rio 2016 slogan. Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
During the presentation, the uniforms for the medal presenters were unveiled. Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
The podium for the Rio 2016 Games was also unveiled this Tuesday (15 June). Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
A first at Rio 2016: as well as a medal, the best athletes will also take home with them a statuette of the official Rio 2016 Olympic logo. Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
Paralympic medallists, alomg with their medals, will receive mascot Tom with a special hairstyle: bronze, silver or gold. Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
The first medals for the Rio 2016 Games will be presented on Saturday 6 August, a day after the opening ceremony. Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro
Thomas Bach and the kids at the presentation were delighted with the Rio 2016 medals. Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro