Paris Olympics and Paralympics organisers unveil medals for both Games — containing metal from the Eiffel Tower
Podium finishers at the upcoming Paris Olympics will be rewarded with a piece of the Eiffel Tower, organisers said on Thursday, unveiling the event’s medals that are set with hexagon-shaped tokens forged out of scrap metal from the monument.
The idea was to link the Games with symbols of France, said Thierry Reboul, creative director of Paris 2024.
Reboul told reporters “the absolute symbol of Paris and France is the Eiffel Tower. It’s the opportunity for the athletes to bring back a piece of Paris with them.”
“Having a gold medal is already something incredible. But we wanted to add this French touch and we thought that the Eiffel Tower would be this cherry on the top,” added Joachim Roncin, head of design at the Paris Games organising committee.
“Having a piece of it is a piece of history.”
Designed by jeweller Chaumet, the 18-gram hexagon tokens are made of iron taken from the tower during past refurbishments then stored for years in a secret warehouse.
The pieces’ hexagonal form represents France. The French sometimes refer to their country as “L’Hexagone” — the hexagon — because of its shape.
They sit in the centre of the gold, silver and bronze medals, ringed with grooves evoking light rays bursting outward — drawn from a tiara design in Chaumet’s archives.
The back of the medals features the Greek goddess of victory, Nike, charging forward, with the Acropolis to one side and the Eiffel Tower to the other.
Paralympics medals feature a view of the Eiffel Tower from underneath, and are stamped with Paris 2024 in braille — a homage to the Frenchman who invented it. The Paralympics’ logo, with three Agitos symbols are featured on the back.
The 5,084 medals are produced by France’s mint, the Monnaie de Paris.
“We want to make sure those pieces of Eiffel Tower stay at home,” French wheelchair tennis player Pauline Deroulede told reporters.
“Seeing them so close gives some extra motivation,” added another home nation athlete, wrestler Koumba Larroque.
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