Decorations craved by athletes all over the globe - medals for the 2014 Sochi Olympics - have been unveiled in St. Petersburg. For the Games due to start in 251 days, a record-breaking number of 1,300 medals were produced.
The medals represent a combination of metal surface, patchwork designs, and a transparent pattern representing the icy slopes of the Caucasus Mountains.
They were presented by Russian Olympic skating champion Svetlana Zhurova, who stressed how vital a medal is for sporting professionals.
“For any athlete an Olympic medal is a precious gift which will stay with him or her throughout the years. The athlete may hide it in a secret place, but when you take it and look at it – you remember the victorious moments. I look at this Sochi-2014 medal here and understand that nobody will ever doubt the fact that this medal was won in Russia. All the codes, patterns of Russian tradition have been encrypted into this medal. There is ice and flight in this medal…”
The Paralympic medals were made in a similar stylistic design, with its form set to represent the integrity and soul power of the Paralympic athletes.
The medals were produced using an open tender among professional designers. Although there were international bids, it was a Russian team that won.
The gold, silver and bronze medals, weigh between 460 and 531 grams. It takes 18 hours to produce each medal.
According to the international standards, the medals aren’t produced of only precious metals. For instance, the Sochi 2014 gold medal has a golden surface with an alloy of different metals underneath.
Almost 3kg of pure gold were used to cover all the golden medals set to be awarded to the Games’ event winners.
The first ever Winter Olympics to be held in Russia run from February 7 to 23 in the southern city of Sochi.