Organizers unveil new medals
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Sydney Olympics organizers unveiled designs Saturday for the medals that will be awarded during the Sept. 15 to Oct. 1 Games.
"The design underlines the Olympics in Sydney and through Sydney, Australia, to people all over the world," designer Wojciech Pietranik said. "I think I will cry when the first medal is awarded."
The front of the medals incorporates the traditional Olympic symbols, including the representation of Nike -- the Greek goddess of victory -- holding a laurel wreath, and a colosseum.
Adding an Australian flavour to the design on the front are some sprigs of wattle, an Australian native plant.
On the reverse side, Sydney's world-famous architectural icon, the Opera House, is depicted symbolically amid the waves of the Sydney Harbour.
The Olympic flame is represented opposite the Opera House and below the five rings symbol of the International Olympic Committee.
"It was a challenge to incorporate the traditional Olympic symbols, which must feature on all Olympic medals, and the Australian symbols, but I'm happy with the design," said Pietranik, a designer with Australia's Royal Mint in Canberra, who won a competition to design the medals.
"I treated the design more like a sculpture than a picture ... I think the people who win the medals will remember where they won."
All medals were produced at the Australian Mint in Canberra and at the Perth Mint, in Western Australia, and all medals contain silver.
The gold medal comprises pure silver, plated in gold. According to IOC guidelines, the medals for the winners contain at least six grams of gold.
The silver medals are pure silver and the bronze medals contain elements of silver plus bronze, which was melted down from stocks of Australia's disused one- and two-cent pieces.