Paris Olympians to be rewarded with fragments of the Eiffel Tower
Paris — Podium finishers at the forthcoming Paris Olympics will be rewarded with a piece of the Eiffel Tower, organisers said on Thursday, unveiling the event’s medals which are set with hexagon-shaped tokens forged out of scrap metal from the monument.
The idea was to link the Games with symbols of France, said Thierry Reboul, creative director of Paris 2024.
“The absolute symbol of Paris and France is the Eiffel Tower,” Reboul told reporters. “It’s the opportunity for the athletes to bring back a piece of Paris with them.”
Designed by jeweller Chaumet, the 18g hexagon tokens, representing the shape of France, are made of iron taken from the tower during past refurbishments and then stored for years in a warehouse location of which is secret.
They sit in the centre of the gold, silver and bronze medals, ringed with grooves evoking light rays bursting outward — drawn from a tiara design in Chaumet’s archives.
The back of the medals features the Greek goddess of victory, Nike, charging forward, with the Acropolis to one side and the Eiffel Tower to the other.
Paralympics medals feature a view of the Eiffel Tower from underneath, and are stamped with Paris 2024 in braille — homage to the Frenchman who invented it.
The 5,084 medals are produced by France’s mint, the Monnaie de Paris.
“We want to make sure those pieces of Eiffel Tower stay at home,” French wheelchair tennis player Pauline Deroulede told reporters. “Seeing them so close gives some extra motivation,” added another home nation athlete, wrestler Koumba Larroque.
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