Made of recycled electronic devices and pebble-like in appearance, the medals in the upcoming Tokyo Games will measure 8.5 centimetres in diameter, featuring the flying image of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory.
But, unlike previous years, these will be produced from gold, silver and bronze (in this case, copper and zinc) that has been stripped from over 79,000 tons of used cell phones and other small electronic devices donated by the Japanese population.
In 1896, the long-lost tradition of ancient Greece, the Olympic Games was reborn in Athens. With the rebirth, new practices made way for older ones and thus the custom of awarding medals began -- silver for the winners while the runners-up received a copper or bronze medal.
On the front of the medal was Zeus, father of the gods and in whose honour the Games were held, holding Nike, while the reverse side showed the Acropolis.
It wasn't until eight years later in the 1904 St. Louis Games, where the now standard gold, silver, and bronze medals, were first used.
The metals represent the first three ages of man in Greek mythology: the Golden Age -- when men lived among the gods, the Silver Age -- where youth lasted a hundred years, and the Bronze Age, or the age of heroes
Over the next century, the coveted awards would vary in shape, size, weight, composition, and in the image they carried.
First Published: IST