Aboriginal artwork for Vancouver Olympics medals

October 16, 2009

The medals at the Vancouver Olympics will feature aboriginal artwork and no two will be alike. The gold, silver and bronze medals for next year's Winter Games were displayed by British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell at a news conference on Thursday. The circular medals will weigh 1.1 to 1.3 pounds (about half a kilo) - the heaviest in Olympic and Paralympic history. The medals are based on two large artworks of an orca whale and raven by Canadian designer Corrine Hunt. Ore for the metals came from mines in Canada, Alaska and Chile. The medals' undulating surfaces represent the sea and mountains of Canada's west coast. "We needed to draw from our environment and all those things that make up this amazing place where we live," Hunt said. The unveiling was emceed by three-time speedskating medalist Nathalie Lambert. "These medals, these beautiful pieces of art, are brought to life by the passion of the athletes," Lambert said. John Furlong, chief executive of the Vancouver Organizing Committee, recently presented sample medals to IOC president Jacques Rogge. "It was five seconds of silence and pleasure and the look of somebody who had just been given this extraordinary gift," Furlong told The Associated Press.