Paris 2024 medals to include 'piece' of Eiffel Tower

The 5,084 medals that will be awarded to athletes at this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris will include an original piece in the shape of a hexagon taken from the Eiffel Tower, organisers announced on Thursday as they unveiled the design created by Chaumet.

An original piece of the Eiffel Tower will be included in the medals awarded to athletes at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. A hexagonal piece of iron has been taken from the French capital’s most emblematic monument, representing the image of the city. It will be an original piece that will be placed in the centre. 

This was announced by the organisers when they presented their design on Thursday. The 5,084 gold, silver and bronze medals will have a six-sided metal medallion set like a precious stone. The medallion was designed by the elite French jewellers Chaumet. “We wanted to offer a piece of the 1889 Eiffel Tower to all the medallists of the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said the head of the local organising committee, Tony Estanguet, in statements collected by AFP.

They “combine our most precious metals – gold, silver and bronze – with our country’s most precious metal, from this treasure that is Eiffel Tower”.

The design by Chaumet, whose creations have adorned the aristocracy and the elite since 1780, is also characterised by a circular arrangement of ridges designed to catch the light and evoke the rays of the sun. The iron hexagon, a shape reminiscent of the outline of mainland France, is held in place by six spurs at each corner. These are designed to resemble the rivets used on the Eiffel Tower. A spectacular design.

The metal was taken from a scrap metal warehouse in Paris by the operating company that maintains the 330-metre landmark, affectionately known in France as the ‘Old Lady’. “We found out that over the years, during the maintenance of the Eiffel Tower, they were forced to remove part of the original structure,” explained Thierry Reboul, director of ceremonies, at a preview of the medals for AFP and other media.

“We used those pieces. There were more than enough,” he added. It is undoubtedly a novel idea. And one that is full of affection, given the importance of the Eiffel Tower to Parisians and the French.

The design of the medal is an important part of the aesthetic of each Games. Since 2004, the reverse of all medals has featured the Greek goddess Nike flying towards the historic Panathinaikos Stadium in Athens, the site of the original Olympic Games in ancient times. 

The Paris organisers secured the approval of the International Olympic Committee. This allowed them to slightly modify the design to include the Eiffel Tower in the scene. The Eiffel Tower will also be there. All of the metal used to make the medals in Paris, which weigh about half a kilo each, has been recycled. 

At the last Olympics in Tokyo, the Japanese organisers also used recycled metal, with each medal cast from alloys extracted from used consumer electronics such as mobile phones and laptops.

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