Exactly one year from the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, the organising committee has unveiled the medals that the world’s elite athletes will be competing for. And they feature a striking design – and unlikely origin.
As well as the Olympic rings, the design prominently features Nike (the Greek Goddess of Victory, not the shoes) and is the work of Osaka native, Junichi Kawanishi, who won a competition entered by over 400 professional designers.
But the most interesting thing about the newly revealed medals is how the precious metal they’re made from was sourced. For the past two years, the Japanese Olympic committee has been accepting donations of disused electronic goods which have been harvested and recycled. Staggeringly, nearly 80,000 tonnes of tech was donated, including 6.2 million mobile phones, from which 32kg of gold, 3,500kg of silver and 2,200kg of bronze have been extracted.
The recycled medals are part of the effort to ensure that Japan’s Olympic games are the most sustainable, and environmentally friendly in the event’s history. It’s an incredible effort on the part of the Japanese people – and it’s a thrill to think that 12 months from now, the world’s greatest athletes will be proudly wearing medals that may have started life as someone’s old GameBoy.