Sochi Olympics organizers finally unveiled the 2014 Winter Medals to impressed “ooohs” and “ahhs” Thursday during a presentation in St. Petersburg, and one official wasn’t shy about his goal of keeping the uniquely Russian medals on home soil once the Olympics kick off in February.
“Especially the gold ones,” Sochi CEO Dmitry Chernyshenko joked during the presentation.
The medals, which Chernyshenko hinted would be “different from all previous editions,” stand out because of the unique patchwork quilt design that represents the different regions of Russia.
“I look at this Sochi 2014 medal here and understand that nobody will ever doubt the fact that this medal was won in Russia,” explained Torino speed skating champ Svetlana Zhurova, who was on hand for the presentation. “All the codes, patterns of Russian tradition have been encrypted into this medal. There is ice and flight in this medal.”
The collision of metal and “ice” at the center of the medals is also unique, but Winter medals are often much different from the standard set for the Summer Games. Most Olympics fans are just happy the ones for Sochi are round and solid, after the wavy medals handed out in Vancouver in 2010.
It takes more eighteen hours to produce each of the record 1,300 medals for the Sochi Games, which start in only 231 days, and more than six pounds of gold were used to cover the winners medals.
Chernyshenko and the rest of Russia hope the nation can have a better showing at their first ever Winter Games than they did in Vancouver, when the team won a disappointing 15 medals, and only three gold.
“We refrain from making medal forecasts,” Chernyshenko added. “But the atmosphere of the games will be affected by the performance of the team.”