The Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG) has celebrated one year to go until the Paralympic Games with the unveiling of the official medal designs.

The designs are centred around the motif of a traditional Japanese fan, depicting the Paralympic Games as the source of a fresh new wind blowing through the world, as well as a shared experience connecting diverse hearts and minds.

The kaname, or pivot point, holds all parts of the fan together, and here it represents Para-athletes bringing people together regardless of nationality or ethnicity. Motifs on the leaves of the fan symbolise Japan’s captivating and life-giving natural environment in the form of rocks, flowers, trees, leaves and water, and these are applied with a variety of techniques, producing a textured surface that makes the medals compelling to touch.

To help those with a vision impairment  recognise the different medals by touch, circular indentations have been added to the side of the medals for the first time in Paralympic history. One indentation represents gold, two represent silver and three represent bronze. Braille letters also spell out ‘Tokyo 2020’ on the medals’ face.

As part of the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project, the medals are being manufactured from recycled precious metals extracted from mobile phones and other small electronic devices donated by the public.

Medal designer Sakiko Matsumoto said: “I am very grateful that I could take part in these historic Games as a designer. I wanted to keep the athletes front and centre as I conceived this design. I hope these medals bring athletes and the people around them closer together, and stir a fresh new breeze in their hearts.”

The medal ribbons, in the Games colours of indigo and crimson, employ traditional Japanese design motifs of harmonised chequered emblems (kumiichi matsumon) in a design that expresses both the festive spirit of the Games and the principle of ‘Unity in Diversity’. Silicon convex dots – one for gold, two for silver, and three for bronze – are applied to the ribbon’s reverse side.

The indigo wooden cases are individually hand-crafted from Japanese ash by highly skilled artisans. The unique wood grain of each case represents the diversity of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The circular case and lid are magnetised, allowing the medal to be displayed as if it is cradled within linked rings.

“All the ingredients for an outstanding Paralympics are coming together in Tokyo – the prospect of superb sport, stunning venues, billions of global TV viewers and millions of spectators,” said Vice President of the International Paralympic Committee, Duane Kale.

“This is why I am so confident that Tokyo 2020 will surpass the success of London 2012 and have more impact on transforming society than any previous Paralympics.”

TOCOG’s President Yoshiro Mori said: “Next year’s Games will be the first time in history that the same city has hosted the Summer Paralympics twice. Precisely because Tokyo will be hosting for the second time, we have held to an important principle, and that is to expend all our power – equal to the Olympic Games – in making the Paralympic Games a great success.”

By the International Paralympic Committee and TOCOG
Posted: 25/08/2019