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2012 Olympic medals locked up in Tower of London

2nd July 2012

Medals for Olympic an Paralympic Games taken down to vaults by Lord Coe and mining company chairman

The prized Olympic and Paralympic medals are now under lock and key at the Tower of London, where the crown jewels are kept under armed guard.

The next time the coveted gold, silver and bronze prizes will be seen in public is when they are draped around the necks of the winning athletes at the London 2012 Games.

The winners of the men’s and women’s 10m air pistol should be the first athletes to receive their medals.

The medals were taken down to the vaults by London 2012 chairman Lord Coe and Jan du Plessis, chairman of mining company Rio Tinto, which is in charge of mining the precious metals for the medals.

Coe, who is a two-time Olympic 1500m gold medallist, said: “For an athlete, winning an Olympic or Paralympic medal represents the conclusion of thousands of hours of training and reaching the highest level in sport.

“The victory ceremonies then provide the moment they can truly celebrate their success.

“It’s great that the London 2012 medals will be kept safe and secure at the Tower of London until then.”

Rio Tinto handed over the medals for safekeeping at a special ceremony, during which a fanfare by the trumpeters of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood hailed the medals’ arrival.

The Tower’s famous Yeoman Warders and 150 children from east London schools were also in attendance.

A total of 4,700 medals are to be awarded in 805 victory ceremonies that will take place in more than 30 London 2012 venues.

Olympics minister Hugh Robertson noted: “To the athletes competing to win these medals they are as precious as the crown jewels, so it is fitting that they should be stored for safe keeping in the same iconic location.”

Over eight tonnes of gold, silver and copper has been extracted and refined to make the medals.

The top prize is made up of 92.5% silver, 1.34% gold while the remainder is copper. It contains a minimum of 6g of gold. The silver medal is 92.5% silver and the rest is copper. Bronze medallists win medals that are made up of 97% copper, 2.5% zinc and 0.5% tin.

The medals started life as ore dug up on opposite sides of the world – at Rio Tinto’s Kennecott Utah copper mine near Salt Lake City in the US and from its Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia.

Artist David Watkins designed the Olympic medals, while the Paralympic medals are by Lin Cheung, jewellery artist and senior lecturer in jewellery design at Central Saint Martin’s College of Arts and Design. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Read more at The Guardian
© Guardian News & Media Limited

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