This article was originally published on the Toronto 2015 website.
The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) today unveiled the competition medals for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. Athletes from 41 countries and territories across the Americas will compete for 4,283 medals in 825 medal events.
As athletes across the Americas get ready for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, the bronze, silver and gold medals they will compete for are following their own unique paths. The paths of the medals originate at different points across the western hemisphere thanks to the collaboration of Barrick Gold Corporation, Official Metal Supplier, and the Royal Canadian Mint, the Official Medals Design and Production Supplier.
The TORONTO 2015 medals were unveiled at the Royal Ontario Museum today in a ceremony hosted by Canadian Olympic gold medallist Mark Tewksbury.
“I still feel a sense of pride and accomplishment every time I share my gold medal from Barcelona,” said Tewksbury. “These TORONTO 2015 medals are pieces of art in their own right, and reflect all the hard work, dedication and the difficult journey athletes will take to wear one around their neck and cherish for life.”
“The Games unite us, inspire us and captivate us, and it’s the competition — the elite athletes striving for a moment of near perfection — that make it all so thrilling,” said Saäd Rafi, chief executive officer, TO2015. “So, we’re grateful to all our partners for striving for that same level of excellence in our medals.”
For athletes, the path to international sport usually begins in their hometown. Skill and athleticism propel them to the next level. And it is a similar journey for the medals that they strive to achieve. Starting in local mining communities where the raw materials for the TORONTO 2015 medals begin their journey, forged by skilled hands, hard work and civic pride.
The materials for the medals were supplied by Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corporation from three of its operations across the Americas: copper from its Zaldívar mine in Chile; silver from its Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic; and gold from its Hemlo mine in Ontario. The teamwork and pride of the people at Barrick reflect the excellence and dedication of the athletes competing at the Games. Barrick also has operations in Argentina, Peru and the United States.
“We’re honoured to supply the materials for the medals that will mark the success of the best athletes of the Americas,” said Kelvin Dushnisky, co-president, Barrick Gold Corporation. “Everyone in our organization — especially those who produced the copper, silver and gold — will be thrilled every time an athlete holds up their medal to the cheers of their country.”
Meet the people who produced the copper, silver and gold in Chile, the Dominican Republic and Ontario at Barrick.com/TORONTO2015.
Just as athletes hone their skill with hours of training, the unique Games medals will be skilfully crafted by the Royal Canadian Mint in an innovative process featuring 25 production steps. The process involves 30 Mint employees, including engineers, engravers, die technicians, machinists and production experts working together. The team’s combined experience in medals production totals more than 100 years.
“Royal Canadian Mint employees have come together with pride to produce one-of-a-kind medals which truly symbolize the years of training and effort put forth by the remarkable athletes who will compete at the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games this summer,” said Sandra Hanington, president and chief executive officer, Royal Canadian Mint.
For the first time in medals history, the Royal Canadian Mint has applied the ancient technique of mokume gane, fusing different alloys to reflect the multicultural celebration of athletes and the fellowship of nations coming together under the motto “United We Play!” The mokume gane technique produces another valuable result: Each of the 4,283 competition medals is truly unique. Learn more about the making of the medals at mint.ca/TO2015.
"That moment of glory on the podium is the result of years of training and preparation, so I am very proud that TORONTO 2015 and its partners dedicated so much thought, effort and passion into designing such beautiful and substantial medals that embody the commitment and courage of the athlete who earned it," said Curt Harnett, Team Canada’s chef de mission for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am Games.
“When an athlete has a medal hung around their neck, it is a beginning not an end. As they go through life, people will want to see it, touch it and feel the weight of it,” said Elisabeth Walker-Young, Team Canada’s chef de mission for the TORONTO 2015 Parapan American Games. “The medals that are given out at the Games will hold pride of place in homes, hearts and memories throughout the Americas for decades to come. Through the design of the medal, the unity and joy of the Games live on.”
The artwork on the medals tells the rich story of the “People’s Games” through a beautifully layered design that expresses the values of inclusion and diversity, and highlights Aboriginal traditions of welcoming guests and cherishing the beauty of the natural world. The collaborative creative process included Christi Belcourt, a Métis visual artist who combined artistry and storytelling with the Royal Canadian Mint’s innovative production process. Braille is used to identify TORONTO 2015 – a reflection of TO2015’s commitment to accessibility, and the first time it has ever been applied on both Pan Am and Parapan Am Games medals.
The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am competition medals will be on temporary exhibition at the Royal Ontario museum from Saturday, March 14 through Sunday, March 29. During the Games, they will be available for public viewing at the Royal Canadian Mint pavilion at CIBC Pan Am Park.
The Pan Am Games will run from July 10–26 followed by the Parapan Am Games August 7–15. The current round of ticket sales for the Pan Am Games will close on March 9 and will not reopen until mid- April. Tickets have been selling fast so fans are encouraged to buy their tickets now to see their favourite athletes vie for these medals.