Each medal at Vancouver Games to have unique design

Thu Oct 15, 2009 2:42pm EDT
 
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By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Medals awarded at next year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver will feature Canadian aboriginal art, and for the first time in Games history, every single medal will have a unique design.

Designs for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games' medals were unveiled on Thursday in a ceremony at Vancouver's athletes village that was replete with drummers from the local native Indian communities that will help to host the event.

Every gold, silver and bronze medal to be awarded at the Games, which start on February 12, will feature sections of two larger works of contemporary aboriginal art. Their surfaces will be undulating rather than flat, another first for the Games, according to the Vancouver Organizing Committee.

"No two medals are alike. Because the story of each athlete is completely unique, so we felt it was right that each athlete take home a different medal," said Omer Arbel, a Vancouver artist who co-designed the medals.

"But all the medals are connected, and together they make a larger whole," Arbel said.

The two larger artworks depict the orca whale and the raven, animals that play an important symbolic role in the cultures of native Indians on Canada's Pacific Coast, where the Games will be held.

Using them is a way to help teach athletes and international spectators about local aboriginal culture, said Corrine Hunt, Arbel's partner on the design team.

"We have our stories to tell, and the stories are told with the raven and the whale," Hunt said.   Continued...

 
<p>A side view of the medals for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games shows their unusual shape following the unveiling in Vancouver, British Columbia October 15, 2009. REUTERS/Andy Clark</p>