London 2012 unveils Olympic medals

09:01, July 28, 2011      

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The London 2012 Olympic Games medals are displayed during a news conference in London July 27, 2011. (Photo/Agencies)

The London Olympic medals were unveiled on Wednesday while the city was celebrating the mark of one year to go until the opening ceremony of the 2012 Games.

The Olympic medals, designed by British artist David Watkins, were unveiled to the world tonight by the British Princess Anne Elizabeth Alice Louise and the LOCOG chairman Sebastian Coe in the presence of IOC President Jacques Rogge and Coordination Commission Chairman Denis Oswald at a special ceremony in Trafalgar Square, central London.

Rogge said, "It is the pinnacle of a sporting career to become an Olympic champion but I am confident that receiving one of these medals will make it all the more special in London next year."

The Olympic medals' circular form is a metaphor for the world. The front of the medal always depicts the same imagery at the summer Games - the Greek Goddess of Victory, Nike, stepping out of the depiction of the Parthenon to arrive in the host city.

On the reverse of the medals, the dished background suggests a bowl similar to the design of an amphitheatre.

The core emblem is an architectural expression, a metaphor for the modern city, or as a geological metaphor as a tough crystalline growth which is deliberately jewel like.

The grid brings both a pulling together and sense of outreach on the design - an image of radiating energy that represents the athletes' achievements and effort.

The River Thames is a symbol for London and also suggests a fluttering baroque ribbon and adds a sense of celebration.

The square is the final balancing motif of the design, opposing the overall circularity of the design and emphasizing its focus on the centre and reinforcing the sense of "place" as in a map inset.

The sport and discipline of the medal-winning athletes will be engraved on the rim of every medal.

Coe hoped that seeing the design of the medals will be a source of inspiration for the thousands of athletes around the world who are counting down the year before they compete at the Games.

In 2012, more than 2,100 Olympic medals will be presented in 302 Olympic victory ceremonies in more than 30 venues over 16 days of competition.

The medals will go into production later this year at Royal Mint's headquarters in Llantrisant, South Wales.

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