AAJ Press
Commissions, Commissions & Projects, Sculpture

David Watkins: Olympic Medals for London 2012

The gold, silver and bronze medals awarded at the London 2012 Olympics will be the largest medals to be presented since the modern Olympics started in 1896. Created by metalwork designer David Watkins, the front depicts the Greek goddess of victory, Nike, stepping from the Parthenon. The reverse features the London 2012 emblem as “architectural expression, a metaphor for the modern city” on a dished background evocative of an amphitheatre. A grid represents both “pulling together” and athletes radiating energy, while the River Thames symbolises London. The Royal Mint at Llantrisant, South Wales will produce the 2,100 medals to be presented during 302 victory ceremonies in more than 30 venues. The medals are 85mm in diameter and 7mm thick and weigh 375-400g.

“The key symbols on front and back juxtapose the goddess Nike, for the spirit and tradition of the Games, and the River Thames, for the city of London. On the back of the medals is the 2012 branding, representing the modern city as a jewel-like, geological growth. The logo is shown against a ‘pick-up-sticks’ grid, which radiates the energy of athletes and a sense of pulling together. The River Thames runs through the middle as a celebratory ribbon. The bowl-like background recalls ancient amphitheatres, with a square balancing the circle to give a sense of place. The sport and discipline of medal winners will be engraved on the rim of each medal.”

An illustrated history of Summer and Winter Olympics medals since 1896:



About jeh

Jeremy Hunt is Director of the AAJ Press (Art & Architecture Journal / Press) – a writer and consultant on art and public space


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