Beijing 2008: Olympic medals unveiled
The medals for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad – Beijing 2008 – have been unveiled to the world on the occasion of the 500-day countdown to the opening of the Beijing Games, during a ceremony held today at the Capital Museum in Beijing.
Made of gold and jade
For the first time jade is used for the Beijing Olympic medals. The medals have been designed with inspiration coming from “bi”, China’s ancient jade piece inscribed with a dragon pattern. The medals symbolise nobility and virtue and are the embodiment of traditional Chinese values of ethics and honour, emitting a strong Chinese flavour. The winners’ medal is made of gold weighing not less than six grammes each. The medal for the runner-up is made of pure silver.
A blending of traditional Chinese culture and Olympism
Noble and elegant, the medals are a blending of traditional Chinese culture and Olympism. On their obverse side, the medals reflect the Greek character of the Olympic Games: the goddess of victory Nike pictured in the Panathinaikos Stadium. While on their reverse side, the medals are inlaid with jade with the Beijing Games emblem engraved in the metal centrepiece. The design inspiration of the medal hook derives from jade “huang”, a ceremonial jade piece decorated with a double dragon pattern and “Pu”, the reed mat pattern.
Part of the Games’ legacy
For Jian Xiaoyu, Executive Vice-President of the Organising Committee for the Games (BOCOG), “the Beijing 2008 Games medals will be a major part of the Olympic legacy for China. The medals embody strong Chinese style and elegant art, and are a harmonious combination of Chinese culture and Olympism, making them a vehicle to disseminate the Olympic spirit and the concepts of the Beijing Games, as well as to showcase Chinese culture and arts, and the high levels of design and technology.”
A Chinese flavour for the medal box, ribbon and certificate too
The medal box, ribbon and certificate, which were released simultaneously, also embody the aesthetic taste of traditional Chinese culture and reflect the distinct Chinese characteristics and style. The medal box is a wooden lacquer box made by traditional Chinese techniques. The box is rectangular in shape, with four slightly curving sides of its lid and base, a symbol of heaven and earth, which conveys the message of happiness and best wishes for the world. The ribbon is exquisitely designed with a cloud pattern woven on the red strap, conveying a joyful and festive atmosphere. The certificate is made of thin silk and rice paper, an integrated whole of traditional techniques and modern printing.
The Games of the XXIX Olympiad – Beijing 2008 will take place from 8 August 2008 until 24 August 2008. The Games in Beijing will play host to the 28 summer sports currently on the Olympic programme. Approximately 10,500 athletes are expected to participate in the Games, with around 20,000 accredited media bringing the Games to the world.
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