While enjoying watching the Olympics, a thought crossed my mind during one of the medal presentations; one of the cycling ones to be precise. The British had won the gold but my attention was drawn to the Canadians receiving the bronze, who appeared to be having a conversation among themselves along the lines of ‘what’s this?’ when they were presented with that colourful paperweight-like object that they got with their medals.
Along with questions like ‘why are all those seats empty?’, ‘why has the diving pool turned green?’ and ‘who comes up with the ideas for some of these events?’ (admittedly a question at every Olympics, that last one), this has puzzled me no end. Frankly, I’m surprised that the BBC hasn’t educated/informed us as to what these objects are, or maybe I missed that amid the celebration of all things Team GB.
In search of enlightenment, I turned to the Internet. It turns out that the little figurines are in fact 3-D representations of the Olympic logo – which for this games shows three human-like figures linked together to look like the Sugarloaf Mountain (or maybe spell out the word ‘Rio’; perhaps both). It’s the first time an Olympic logo has been done in 3-D form, apparently.
There’s also a reason why they are being presented to the medallists, and it ties in very neatly with the idea of this being a sustainable Olympics – as also seen with the smaller-than-usual flame and indeed the medals themselves; the gold ones are made from gold extracted without the use of mercury, while the ribbons are apparently made from recycled plastic bottles. In previous years, those athletes who’ve made it to the podium have received a bunch of flowers as well as their medals; the flowers usually get thrown away but the figurines – which some sources say can be used as holders for the medals – are of a more permanent nature.
Now that I’ve learned this, I can’t help but wonder how soon it will be before some of the figurines start to appear on eBay.