Olympic, Paralympic medals for Rio Games unveiled

Rio Olympic medals
Rio 2016
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Fifty-two days out from the Opening Ceremony, the Rio Olympic and Paralympic medals have been unveiled. The 4,924 award medals and 75,000 participation medals were designed by the Brazilian Mint.

They were displayed for the first time Tuesday in an event attended by IOC president Thomas Bach, who is in Brazil this week to look over Olympic preparations.

Check them out:

The gold medals are free of mercury and produced with strict sustainability criteria, according to Rio 2016. And 30 percent of the silver and bronze medals come from recycled materials. Half of the colorful ribbon for each medal was made from recycled plastic bottles.

Surrounding the Rio 2016 logo on the front of the medals are laurel leaves, representing the link between nature and Olympians. The back side follows the Olympic tradition of featuring an image of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, as well as Panathinaiko Stadium and the Acropolis. Event names and sports are displayed on the edge of the medals.

The Paralympic medals, meanwhile, will have a tiny, noise-making device inside that sounds off when the medal is shaken. This allows visually-impaired athletes to know if they are gold (which makes the loudest noise), silver or bronze (the lowest noise). “Rio 2016” is also etched on in braille.

Additionally, Rio officials unveiled the design of the podiums to be used at the Olympics and Paralympics. They’ll feature plants to celebrate the tropical nature of Brazil, and are made out of wood so they can be reused as furniture after the Games.

This is the closest date to the Opening Ceremony that Olympic medals have been unveiled since 2000, and two days earlier than the 50-days-out mark – June 16 – originally announced.