Olympic medalists will be wearing something special this summer on the podium in Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian Mint’s designs for the gold, silver and bronze of the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic games are made of recycled materials.
Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, joins other traditional symbols on the Olympic medals. But she’s made with silver sourced from recycled mirrors, leftover solder and even the film from X-ray plates. Recycled bottles are woven into the medals’ ribbons.
And the gold in gold medals? Extracted without the toxic chemical mercury.
At the 2016 Paralympic Games, visually impaired athletes can hear their medals. For the first time, the Paralympic medals will contain tiny steel balls that, when shaken, ring out differently as gold, silver or bronze.
A total of 2,488 medals have been produced: 812 gold, 812 silver and 864 bronze.
“The medals are one of the biggest symbols of the games, and they are the most beautiful in the world,” said Carlos Arthur Nuzman, president of the Brazilian Olympic Committee, at the June 14 unveiling ceremony.