The medals were made from 78,985 recycled devices

By Nicole Ganglani | Photo from Tokyo 2020

Exactly a year before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics takes place, the event’s organizing committee has unveiled the medal designs. Made of recycled electronics, the medals were designed by Junichi Kawanishi, who was chosen from a pool of over 400 professional designers and design students.

In April 2017, the organizing committee launched a two-year “Everyone’s Medal” campaign, which was able to gather nearly 80,000 tons of gadgets including 6.21 million mobile phones. From these donations,  32 kilograms of gold, 3,500 kilograms of silver, and 2,200 kilograms of bronze were extracted to make about 5,000 medals for the world’s biggest sporting event.

According to the Tokyo 2020 organizers, the medals symbolize the athlete’s journey towards becoming an Olympic champion: Rough stones, which, after being repeatedly polished, now shine brightly.

The front of the medals features the Tokyo Olympics emblem, as well as a figure of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. Meanwhile, the back has the Olympic rings and Tokyo 2020 logo, whose patterns of lights represent the games’ diversity.

The design of the medals also references Japanese culture, with the ribbon featuring modernized ichimatsu moyo (checkered patterns) and kasane no irome (kimono layering techniques). More recyclable materials such as carbon dioxide-friendly and chemically-recycled polyester fibers were also used in the medal’s ribbon.

The games will begin on July 24, 2020.

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