A gold-medal opportunity: Vancouver 2010 announces the search for the designer of the Olympic and Paralympic medals

    VANCOUVER, Dec. 13 /CNW/ - For the extraordinary athletes who will
compete at the 2010 Winter Games, winning an Olympic or Paralympic medal will
be one of the ultimate achievements of their athletic careers. To create the
design of the medals which symbolize that achievement, the Vancouver
Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC)
today announced it is seeking proposals from artists - both from Canada and
around the world - interested in designing the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and
Paralympic medals. The official Request for Proposals (RFP) is available at
    "For an athlete, competing at the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
marks the pinnacle of a life's work. The weight of an Olympic and Paralympic
medal around their neck symbolizes the dreams not only of the athlete, but
also their families and their communities and their achievement inspires so
many. Standing on the podium to accept an Olympic or Paralympic medal is truly
a moment without measure," said Cathy Priestner Allinger, VANOC's executive
vice president of Sport, Paralympic Games and Venue Management, herself a
Canadian silver medallist in speed skating at the Innsbruck 1976 Olympic
Winter Games.
    "The story we will tell through these medals will be uniquely Canadian
and will, we hope, present a new opportunity to tell the story of Canada's
Games, igniting the Olympic and Paralympic spirit across the country and
around the world," continued Priestner Allinger.
    Vancouver 2010 is seeking an artist(s), designer(s) or creative teams to
work with VANOC to design inspiring, timeless medals for the Vancouver 2010
Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games - medals that reflect the determination
and heart of the athletes who will win those medals in 2010. An evaluation
team will review submissions and successful applicants will be asked to
provide concept designs. The design concepts will then be reviewed by VANOC
and approved by the Board of Directors. VANOC will present the medal design to
the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic
Committee (IPC) for review and final approval.
    The Royal Canadian Mint, a Vancouver 2010 Official Supporter, will
manufacture the medals. The Mint will be involved in the design process,
providing production expertise and ensuring the medals can be produced at the
highest level of quality.
    Teck Cominco, also an Official Supporter of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic
and Paralympic Winter Games, headquartered in British Columbia, Host Province
of the Games, will supply the gold, silver, bronze and other metals used in
the production of the Olympic and Paralympic medals.
    The design process will involve five phases and is expected to take up to
eight months. In addition to the medals, designs are also required for the
accompanying ribbon and medal containers.
    The Mint will produce a total of 867 competition medals for the 2010
Winter Games. Of these, 549 competition medals will be produced for the
Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, 183 each of gold, silver and bronze. For
the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, 318 competition medals will be
produced,106 each of gold, silver and bronze.
    Although the IOC and the IPC do provide a number of technical
requirements for the medals, the designs ultimately reflect the distinctive
themes of each individual Games. Many Organizing Committees have chosen to
incorporate materials unique to their country or region to spotlight a
distinct design concept: Beijing 2008 (jade); Nagano 1998 (lacquer),
Albertville 1992 (glass), Lillehammer 1994 (granite).
    The Calgary 1988 Olympic Winter Games medals featured an athlete crowned
with an olive wreath and an Aboriginal figure with a stylized headdress
comprised of ski poles, bobsleigh, skis, skate blades, hockey stick, luge and
a biathlon rifle. For the Montreal 1976 Olympic Summer Games, the medal design
featured a stylized laurel crown (a symbol of victory since the Games of
Antiquity) and the emblem of the Montreal Games.
    The closing date for the submission of proposals is January 30, 2008. The
design contract(s) are expected to be awarded in late February 2008.

    Olympic and Paralympic Medal Facts (Source: IOC, IPC, COC, CPC)

    -   In the ancient Olympic Games, no medals were awarded. The first-place
        winner was given an olive wreath. Second- and third-place winners
        received nothing.

    -   When the Modern Olympic Games were revived in 1896, first-place
        winners received silver medals. At that time, gold was considered
        inferior to silver. Eight years later, at the 1904 Games in St.
        Louis, gold replaced silver for first place competitors.

    -   From 1928 to 1968 all medals for the Olympic Summer Games featured
        the same design by Italian artist Guiseppe Cassioli. On the obverse
        side, the design featured the seated Goddess Nike holding a laurel
        wreath and branch. A coliseum is set in the background, above which
        the Games' host city and year are shown. The reverse featured a
        victorious athlete, palm branch held aloft by jubilant athletes and a
        stadium in the background.

    -   Since that time, the Cassioli design has continued to be
        incorporated, in varying degrees. The Athens 2004 medals corrected a
        long-standing inconsistency: the Cassioli design used a classic
        Italian coliseum on the obverse of the medal he created in 1928. The
        obverse of the Athens medal featured the 1896 Panathinaiko Stadium,
        focusing on the Greek nature of the original stadium.

    -   Each Olympic medal must be at least five millimetres thick and
        70 millimetres in diameter.

    -   Each Paralympic medal must be a minimum of 70 millimetres and a
        maximum of 120 millimeters in diameter and between five and
        ten millimetres thick.

    -   The last Olympic gold medals made entirely of gold were awarded at
        the Stockholm 1912 Olympic Winter Games.

    -   The gold and silver Olympic and Paralympic medals must be made out of
        92.5 per cent silver, with the gold medal covered in six grams (or
        .21 ounces) of gold.

    -   The Paralympic medals are required to include the name of the sport
        and/or discipline on the reverse side of the medal in both English
        and Braille.

    -   No specific shape is obligatory for the Olympic or Paralympic medals.

    -   The medals for the Salt Lake 2002 Olympic Winter Games included the
        Organizing Committee's vision statement, "Light the Fire Within," the
        first time an Organizing Committee's vision statement had been
        incorporated into the design of an Olympic medal.

    -   The greatest number of Olympic Winter Games medals ever won by an
        athlete: 12 medals in cross-country skiing, by Bjorn Daehlie of

    -   The greatest number of Paralympic Winter Games medals ever won by a
        single athlete: 22 medals, in alpine skiing, biathlon and cross-
        country skiing, by Norway's Ragnhild Myklebust.

    -   The greatest number of Olympic Winter Games medals won by a Canadian
        athlete: six, by Cindy Klassen (speed skating). The greatest number
        of Paralympic Winter Games medals won by a Canadian athlete: 12, by
        Lana Spreeman (alpine skiing).

    About VANOC

    VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging
of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The
2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from
February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic
Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Suzanne Walters, VANOC
Communications, Tel: (778) 328-6386, suzanne_walters@vancouver2010.com

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