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The making of the London Olympic medals

07-04-2012 10:03 BJT Special Report:2012 London Olympic Games |

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Chances are by the end of London 2012, Phelps will have his hands on a few Olympic medals. For more now on what that medal will look like and how it's creation was finally realized.

The Royal Mint might be owned by the British Government, but that was no guarantee it would win the contract to make the 47-hundred medals to be presented at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Sebastian Coe, right, chairman of the London 2012 Organizing Committee, and Jan
du Plessis, left, Rio Tinto mining company chairman, pose for the photographers
holding a gold medal of the Games, during a photo op at the Tower of London,
in London, Monday, July 2, 2012.

It had to beat out more than two dozen other contenders to ensure it had a real British connection.

Adam Lawrence, CEO of the Royal Mint, said, "This wasn’t about making money, this was about us having the right to do it. Now, we are a broader licensee of the games too. So, we make quite a decent range of commemorative coins and products for the Olympic games. And that’s where we will make money on it."

So there is no profit to be made from the minting of medals, but there is plenty of pride.

Sian Merry, seamstress of the Royal Mint, said, "Absolutely ecstatic. It was really nice, for the Royal Mint, but also for the people around who will get jobs doing this, as well. "

And they are well ahead of schedule

These medals here will be awarded in track and field. And this woman here is the only one who will get to touch every single medal awarded in London.

Marie Buckley, engraver of the Royal Mint, said, "Nice, I didn’t even realize until now. I was the only person to touch every medal. Quite nice."

Before they reach the engraver, the medals have to be formed and then dipped in Sulfuric acid.

That goes for the Bronze and silver medals but not for gold -- that’s because they aren’t really gold, but mostly silver with only six grams of Gold mixed in, anymore and it would simply cost too much.

So they are technically a silver medal that is gold plated. The bronze medal is mostly copper and tin. And the material for that is mined by Rio Tinto in Utah and Mongolia.

Andrew Harding, Rio Tinto, said, "It’s a hell of a series of milestones you’ve got to meet to get the materials here in time and then make the medals in time. You can’t be late because the athlete is not going to stand there and wait for you."

So it is quite a process to make the largest ever Olympic medals. Compared to the 2004 Athens medals and they are massive.

Gavin Elliott, the Royal Mint, said, "We effectively went for the biggest medal that we could, that we could manufacture at the Royal Mint."

Once the medals are struck they portray the Goddess Nike on one side and the River Thames along with the 2012 branding on the other. So that is how Olympic Medals are made.


Editor:Zhang Dan |Source: CNTV.CN

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