The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics officially kicked off on Friday, and it won’t be long before the first trio of medals are handed out, with six sports handing out the honors the day after the opening ceremonies.
In the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, a total of 307 medals were awarded, and more will be given out this year with the addition of seven new medal events, such as mixed team ski jumping, men’s and women’s big air freestyle skiing and women’s monobob .
In total, there will be 109 medal events in 15 sports.
The modern Olympics have been going on since the 1896 Athens Olympic Games, but at that Olympics, first place was given a silver medal and second place got a bronze medal. No medal was awarded for third place.
The system of gold, silver and bronze medals being handed out didn’t begin until the 1904 St. Louis Olympics and has been in place for the Winter Games ever since the first one in Chamonix, France, in 1924.
All past gold, silver and bronze medals are somewhat similar to one other, but with each host city comes a twist to the medal to pay homage to the culture of the city and country, so no other Olympics’ medals look the same. Here is everything to know about the medals that will be handed out this year.
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What do they look like?
All Winter Olympic medals past and present have some of the same elements on them. The Olympic five rings symbol, as well as the games’ official logo and name. This year’s games are officially called XXIV Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.
The unique twist in this year’s game is the medals actually have names. The medals are named Tong Xin, which translates to “together as one.”
Each medal contains five rings “representing the Olympic spirit to bring people together and the splendor of the Olympic Winter Games being shared all over the world.” The innermost ring contains the Olympic five rings symbol and the second innermost ring has the official name of the games. Two of the other rings have designs meant to be snow, ice and cloud patterns.
On the back is the official name of the games in Chinese, along with the name of the medal event, according to the Olympic press release.
Have I seen thing medal design before?
If you look at the design and think it looks somewhat similar to a past design, that’s because it pays homage to a past one.
In 2008, Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics and their medals were the first to use jade. The Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee said the shapes of the medals resemble those medals, meant to showcase Beijing as the first “Dual Olympic City,” the first city to host a Summer and Winter Olympic Games.
The committee added the concave rings echo the traditional jade design, with the designs based on traditional Chinese patterns.
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism