undulating forms evoke British Columbias mountains, ocean
and snow. Their faces are drawn from West Coast First Nations artwork
depicting the orca and raven. Each is unique. And their substantial
size gives them a significant presence. Meet the medals of the Vancouver
2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
VANOC and Vancouver 2010 Official Supporters the Royal Canadian
Mint and Teck Resources Limited unveiled the Olympic and
Paralympic medals that will decorate the gold, silver and bronze
medallists of the 2010 Winter Games.
the 2010 Winter Games medals was a two-year project because theyre
so unique. It was a collaborative effort between Canadian Aboriginal
designer/artist, Corinne Hunt, internationally renowned industrial
designer, Omer Arbel, the Royal Canadian Mint, Teck Resources Limited,
and VANOCs in-house design team. Together this team created
medals that reflect the magnitude of the accomplishments they represent:
They are among the heaviest medals in Olympic and Paralympic history,
weighing between 500 grams to 576 g depending on the medal. As for
size, the Olympic medals are 100 millimetres in diameter and about
six mm thick, while the Paralympic medals are 95 mm wide and about
six mm thick.
and the Raven
blueprints for these medals are based on two large master artworks
(Olympic and Paralympic) from which each of the medals was hand-cropped.
No crop is the same as another so that ensures every medal is unique.
The master artworks were created by Corrine Hunt, a Vancouver, BC-based
artist of Komoyue and Tlingit heritage. Hunt chose the orca as the
motif for the Olympic medals, and the raven as the motif for the
orca, designed across four panels in the style of a traditional
West Coast First Nations bentwood box, is often associated with
the attributes of strength, dignity and teamwork. The sleek and
powerful black and white whales are common to travel in pods through
the waters off Canadas West Coast, but are also found in all
the worlds oceans.
orca is a beautiful creature that is strong but also lives within
a community," said Hunt. "I felt the Olympic (Games) are
a community, too. The athletes may be training but theyre
always somehow connected to their community, to their teammates,
or to their country. The orca is a creature that has wonderful capabilities
but cant really survive without its pod.
Hunt, the raven is symbolic of Paralympians. The strong black wings
and proud profile appear in a three-part composition in the style
of a totem pole. The raven, a species that can be found around the
globe, is often associated with transformation and healing abilities
and represents determination, creativity and wisdom.
design for the Paralympic medal a raven on a totem rising
is close to my heart and in honour of my uncle who is a paraplegic,"
explained Hunt. "The raven is a creature that is all things
and I think Paralympic athletes have that in them. Theyre
sometimes given challenges and they rise above them and the raven
does the same. I think the creativity of the raven gives us hope
to accept when things dont work out and really rejoice
when they do.
International Paralympic Committee also recognizes the great significance
of the raven for the Paralympic medal design.
choice of the raven as the artwork is especially important to us
because it symbolizes the powers of transformation and determination
qualities every Paralympian embodies on and off the field
of play, said Sir Philip Craven, President of the International
Paralympic Committee (IPC). "No doubt the beauty of these medals
will spur them even higher as they strive to reach their dreams
and triumph against adversity yet again in 2010.
matte orca or raven design is lasered onto the front face of the
medals, and within this design is a delicate wood grain pattern
that can be seen up close. 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.
Olympic medals are circular in shape, while the Paralympic medals
are a superellipse or squared circle.
the reverse side, the medals contain the official names of the Games
in English and French, the official languages of Canada and the
Olympic Movement, as well as Vancouver 2010s distinctive emblems
and the name of the sport and the event the medal was awarded in.
On the Paralympic medals, braille is also used. The entire medal
is protected to prevent tarnishing, nicks and scratches.
Games motto With Glowing Hearts/Des plus brillants exploits is written
in white lettering on the medals blue and green ribbon where
it will rest at the base of the neck.
Royal Canadian Mint will produce 615 Olympic and 399 Paralympic
medals for the 2010 Winter Games at their headquarters in Ottawa,
Ontario. The Mint began striking the medals in July and will finish
the historic task this November. It is the second time the Mint
has manufactured Olympic medals; the first time they produced them
was for the Montreal 1976 Olympic Games. Teck Resources Limited,
a Vancouver-based mining, mineral processing and metallurgical company,
is supplying the 2.05 kilograms of gold, 1,950 kg of silver and
903 kg of copper used in the production of the medals. The metals
were sourced from Tecks operations in British Columbia, Ontario
and Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Alaska, Chile and Peru.
word athlete is derived from the Greek word for prize-seeker. Looking
at recent Games medals, its certain that athletic prizes have
certainly evolved since the ancient Greek games in Olympia, where
a wreath of olives was the only reward.
hope is that these medals will be shared with children, families
and the watching world. It symbolizes a lifes accomplishment
and a dream come true, forever.
Veronica Brenner, 2002 Olympic silver medallist in aerials: The
great part about the medals is its something that reminds
you for the rest of your life of the journey. Every single medal
and every athlete have their own story about what they had to put
into it and how they got there. A medal should be shared. I know
I wasnt alone in winning this medal. When I was standing up
on the podium the last person I was thinking of was myself.