Making of London Olympics 2012 Medals – Design and Specification

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Winning the gold medal is an ambitious for every athlete who got an opportunity to participate in Olympics. Despite every athlete strives to win the gold medal, only one can deserve to grab the gold medal. Where ever we go this statement is application ‘winning or losing is not matters, wherein participating is matters’.

David Watkins had designed the Medals which are about to awarded in London Olympics 2012. David Watkins, a renowned and an established artist in the field of decorative art, and is in production at the Royal Mint headquarters in Llantrisant, South Wales, UK.

London Olympic 2012 Games medals will be awarded during a total of 302 Victory Ceremonies, which will be held at 30 different venues across the UK.

The history beneath the Olympics medal:

The Olympic medals are designed for every athlete by the hosted country. The Olympic medals circular form is a metaphor for the world. Each medal must be minimum 3 millimeters thick and 60 millimeters in diameter. The front of the medal always depicts the same imagery at the Summer Games – the Greek Goddess of Victory, Nike, stepping out of the depiction of the Parthenon to arrive in the Host City. Gold medal must be made with at least six grams of gold and the silver medal made with at least 92.5 percentage of pure silver.

London Olympics 2012 Medal
London Olympics Medal
Photo Credit: london2012

The Olympics Medal design:

  • The concave background hints ‘a bowl similar to the design of an amphitheater’.
  • The core emblem is an architectural expression, a metaphor for the modern city, and is deliberately jewel-like.
  • The grid suggests both a pulling together and a sense of outreach – an image of radiating energy that represents the athletes’ efforts.
  • The River Thames in the background is a symbol for London and also suggests a fluttering baroque ribbon, adding a sense of celebration.
  • The square is the final balancing motif of the design, opposing the overall circularity of the design, emphasising its focus on the centre and reinforcing the sense of ‘place’ as in a map inset.

The Olympics Medal Specification:

  • The London 2012 Olympic medals weigh 375-400g, are 85mm in diameter and 7mm thick.
  • The gold medal is made up of 92.5% silver and 1.34% gold, with the remainder copper (a minimum of 6g of gold).
  • The silver medal is made up of 92.5% silver, with the remainder copper.
  • The bronze medal is made up of 97.0% copper, 2.5% zinc and 0.5% tin.

The most precious ore for London Olympics 2012 medals has been supplied by the sponsor Rio Tinto and it was mined at Kennecott Utah Copper Mine near Salt Lake City also called as SLC, the most populous city of Utah, America. And also form the Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia. For the small amount of non-precious elements that make up the bronze medals, the zinc was sourced from a mine in Australia as well as from recycled stock, while the tin originates from a mine in Cornwall.

How the London Olympic 2012 medal designs were chosen:

Medal designs have varied significantly since the start of firs Olympic Games in 1896. Following the designs checklist, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) Victory Ceremonies team worked closely with the British Museum’s Keeper of Coins and Medals, Philip Attwood, to look at the symbolic history of medals in Europe in the last century.

An independent panel of Sir John Sorrel (chair), Sir Mark Jones, Catherine Johnson, Ade Adepitan (deputy chair), Iwona Blazwick OBE, Niccy Hallifax and Martin Green was set up to look at the designs submitted by David Watkins and his team. The LOCOG Athletes’ Committee, chaired by Jonathan Edwards, and the British Olympic Association (BOA) were also involved throughout the process.

Every individual can see the medals at the British Museum throughout the Games.

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