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Olympics

Paris Olympic Medals have metal chunks from the Eiffel Tower

The organizers of the 2024 Paris Olympics revealed the design of the medals to be awarded in the event.

Paris Olympic Medals have metal chunks from the Eiffel Tower
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Paris Olympics medals will have a metallic chunk of the iconic Eiffel Tower. (Source: Paris Olympics)

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 15 Feb 2024 8:16 AM GMT

A hexagonal polished piece of iron taken from the iconic building of the Eiffel Tower will embedded inside each gold, silver, and bronze medal that will be hung around athletes' necks at the July 26-August 11 Paris Olympics Games and Paralympics that follow.

The organisers revealed the design on Thursday. By making history at the Games, Paris medalists will take a bit of France and its history home, too.

Any of the roughly 36,600 other medalists at 29 previous Summer Olympics stretching back to 1896 ever owned one quite like these.

The 330-meter (1,083-foot) tall tower is made of 18,038 iron parts. But it's also getting a bit long in the tooth. Built for the 1889 World's Fair — which celebrated the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution — engineer Gustave Eiffel's tower was only intended to stand for 20 years.

Instead, it just goes on and on — thanks to a bit of rejuvenating surgery from time to time and constant care. The 135-year-old tower is a veteran of two previous Games — in 1900 and 1924, the last held in Paris.

The iron pieces embedded in the center of the Olympic medals each weighs 18 grams (about two-thirds of an ounce).

They were cut from girders and other bits that were swapped out of the Eiffel Tower during renovations and stored for safekeeping, according to Joachim Roncin, head of design at the Paris Games organizing committee.

The concept came after a few discussions. We realized that there's one symbol known across the world, which is the Eiffel Tower. We said to ourselves, Hey, what if we approached the Eiffel Tower Operating Co. to see if it's possible to get a bit of the Eiffel Tower to integrate into the medal?" Roncin said.

"The company agreed and the dream became reality. It's a bit of metal from the Eiffel Tower," he said.

The medals are stamped with "Paris 2024" and the Games logo — which looks like a flame or a woman's face with a chic bob haircut. The five Olympic rings are also stamped on the iron of the Olympic medals. The Paralympic logo of three swooshes, the Agitos, is stamped on the medals for the August 28-September 8 Paralympics.

The iron pieces' hexagonal form represents France. The French sometimes refer to their country as "L'Hexagone" — the hexagon — because of its shape.

Olympic medals have tended to be quite sober. In what was a first, medals for the 2008 Beijing Olympics contained inlaid jade disks. But Paris is the only host city with chunks of a famous monument.

The gold medals weigh 529 grams and are not pure gold. They are made of silver and plated with 6 grams of gold. The silver medals weigh 525 grams and the bronze medals weigh 455 grams and are a copper, tin, and zinc alloy. The medals are 85 millimeters across and 9.2 millimeters thick.

They'll come in a dark-blue box from Chaumet and a certificate from the Eiffel Tower Operating Co. that the iron pieces came from the monument. Paris organizers didn't give a monetary value for the medals.

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