Paris 2024 Olympic Medals Feature Metal From The Eiffel Tower

The Paris 2024 Organizing Committee worked closely with a renowned luxury jeweler to create stunning medals for this year’s Olympics and Paralympics, each one featuring a piece of original metal from the legendary Eiffel Tower. 

With the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics drawing closer, the Paris 2024 Organising Committee has finally unveiled its most important objects: the medals for this year’s games. These pieces of metal represent the hard work and dedication of their athletes, and Paris 2024’s tokens are certainly a sight to behold. Besides showcasing excellent craftsmanship, these medals beautifully represent the host country’s culture and past, honoring the Greek heritage of the Olympics while simultaneously celebrating France’s contributions throughout its evolution. 

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The particular feature that truly makes the medals singular in the games’ long history is its material. Each token features an original piece of metal from none other than France’s Eiffel Tower, which Tony Estanguet, president of the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee, describes as “the jewel in the French crown” in an official statement

To learn more, here’s everything we know about these special tokens based on the Paris 2024 official website and Olympics press statement

Monumental Metal

Paris 2024 has produced 5,084 medals, each one 85 millimeters in diameter and 9.2 millimeters thick. Every medal sports a duo-tone design made up of a piece of 18-grams iron from the Eiffel Tower, and a piece of either gold, silver, or bronze metal. 

A close-up of the original iron piece from the Eiffel Tower
A close-up of the original iron piece from the Eiffel Tower/Photo from the Paris 2024 website

The Eiffel Tower—or Dame de fer—was built between 1887 and 1889, and has been undergoing regular maintenance since then. During this process, workers would normally remove and conserve pieces of iron from the tower. So this year, Paris 2024—with the permission of the Eiffel Tower Operating Company—has breathed new life into these old remains, transforming them into meaningful mementos that allow athletes to, quite literally, carry a piece of France with them. 

A Prized Jewel

The unique medal design and build for the Paris 2024 Olympics is due largely to the creative vision of LVMH’s Chaumet. The organizing committee worked alongside the renowned luxury jewelry-maker to create tokens that incorporate the best techniques of the brand’s craft. 

Chaumet uses gem-setting techniques to combine the distinct metallic pieces together. Iron from the Eiffel Tower takes the form of a hexagon—the geometrical shape of France. It features the Olympics’ torch, logo, and the words “Paris 2024.” Meanwhile, Chaumet embossed the gold, silver, or bronze sections with evenly-spaced lines that resemble light rays. This is meant to symbolize the “radiance of France in the world,” as well as “the shining performances of the athletes at the Games,” writes Paris 2024’s official website

The fine jewelry maker attached the hexagonal iron onto its radiant companion piece with six metal appendages for each corner. Even these small pieces represent France’s legendary monument, as Chaumet designed them to take on the “Clous de Paris” hobnail shape, which resembles the rivets of the Eiffel Tower. 

Every Medal Tells a Story

Both the Olympics and Paralympics medals feature the same design on their Eiffel Tower iron section, a representation of bridging the gap between the two equally significant games. However, Paris 2024 still wants to provide something unique for each type of medal, with two distinct back designs and ribbons. 

Olympic Medals

The back of the Olympic medals feature the goddess of victory Athena Nike and a background of the Panathenaic Stadium (which hosted the revival of the Olympic Games in 1896). Both have been mainstay features of every Olympic medal since 2004. However, this time around, Paris 2024 has incorporated the Eiffel Tower in the background alongside the Greek stadium, showcasing both the current games and France’s great contribution in creating the modern Olympic games. 

The back of the Olympic medal
The back of the Olympic medal/Photo from the Paris 2024 website

Paralympic Medals

On the other hand, Paris 2024 built the Paralympic medal to not only look visually stunning, but also accessible. At its back is the image of the Eiffel Tower from an upward perspective, which is a rare and exquisite view. The back also features the words “Paris 2024” in universal Braille, with dashes on each medal’s edges that help visually impaired athletes determine whether it’s gold (“I”) , silver (“II”) , or bronze (“III”).

The back of the Paralympic medal
The back of the Paralympic medal/Photo from the Paris 2024 website

A Ribbon for All

Even the ribbons of the medals carry their own symbolic meanings. Eiffel Tower lattice work adorns the fabric of both the Olympics or Paralympics ribbons. Olympic medals come in dark blue, while Paralympic medals come in a deep red—the mixture of the first two coats of paint on the Eiffel Tower, “Venice red” and “red-brown.”

It’s clear that the organizing committee and its collaborators truly put a lot of thought into even the smallest details of the medals. Hopefully, this gives athletes even more to look forward to once the Paris 2024 Olympics begins on July 26, 2024, and the Paris 2024 Paralympics commences on August 28, 2024. 

Banner photo via Twitter @TonyEstanguet.

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