This week will see the arrival of an extremely precious consignment in Sochi: the highly-prized medals that will be awarded to Olympic athletes during the course of the 2014 Winter Games. Here’s everything you need to know about these iconic and coveted items.
A Moscow-based jeweller was commissioned to fabricate approximately 1,300 medals (including those that will be awarded at the Paralympic Winter Games). They will be delivered to Sochi on Wednesday 5 February, two days ahead of the Opening Ceremony.
Approximately two tonnes of silver, 700kg of bronze and 6kg of gold have been used in the manufacture of the medals, which took a team of about thirty highly skilled jewellers and engravers several months to craft.
The Sochi 2014 medals combine the respective metals with transparent polycarbonate, which gives them a sense of lightness and a distinctive kind of beauty.
Their unique design features the “Patchwork Quilt” – a mosaic of national designs from the various cultures and ethnic groups that make up the Russian Federation.
The medals depict the uniquely varied landscape of Sochi, with the sun’s rays reflecting through a prism of snowy mountain tops onto the beaches of the Black Sea coast.
The medals also contain a number of unique details. For example, the front of the medals features the Olympic rings, while the reverse side contains the name of the competition in English and the logo of the Sochi Games, with the official name of the Games engraved in Russian, English and French on the rim.
The Olympic medals weigh between 460 and 531 grams depending on whether they are silver gold or bronze, and each is 10mm thick and 100mm in diameter.