2010 Olympic & Paralympic Medals

oly-canada-day medals Meet the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic medals. Their undulating forms evoke British Columbia’s mountains, ocean and snow. Their faces are drawn from West Coast First Nations artwork depicting the orca and raven. Every medal is one of a kind. Their substantial size gives them significant presence. Making the 2010 Winter Games medals was a two-year project because they’re so unique. It was a collaborative effort between Canadian Aboriginal designer/artist, Corrine Hunt, internationally renowned industrial designer, Omer Arbel, the Royal Canadian Mint, Teck Resources Limited, and VANOC’s in-house design team. Together this team created medals that reflect the magnitude of the accomplishments they represent: They are among the heaviest medals in Olympic and Paralympic history, weighing between 500 grams to 576 g depending on the medal. As for size, the Olympic medals are 100 millimetres in diameter and about six mm thick, while the Paralympic medals are 95 mm wide and about six mm thick. The blueprints for these medals are based on two large master artworks (Olympic and Paralympic) from which each of the medals was hand-cropped. No crop is the same as another so that ensures every medal is unique. The master artworks were created by Corrine Hunt, a Vancouver, BC-based artist of Komoyue and Tlingit heritage. Hunt chose the orca as the motif for the Olympic medals, and the raven as the motif for the Paralympic medals. The matte orca or raven design is lasered onto the front face of the medals, and within this design is a delicate wood grain pattern that can be seen up close. Canadian industrial designer and architect Omer Arbel, also of Vancouver, used his extensive knowledge of materials and fabrication processes to create the innovative undulating design of the medals, which are struck nine times each to achieve the distinctive look as part of the 30-step medal fabrication process. The Olympic medals are circular in shape, while the Paralympic medals are a superellipse or squared circle. -VANOC

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