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The Process

1,014 Athlete Medals

From its Ottawa facility, the Mint produced all 615 gold, silver and bronze medals for Olympic Winter Games athletes, as well as the 399 athlete medals for Paralympic Winter Games competition. It took one year of planning, innovation and prototype development to finally bring the ambitious design of the athlete medals to life and proceed with the production phase.

See the Making of the Medals Video now...

Over 30 Steps

Over 30 steps, representing 2,817 (402 days) hours of precision manufacturing, were taken to produce the medals. This complex process required:

  • computer-sculpting and milling 12 undulated dies for striking medals into their unconventional shape;
  • converting 1,014 unique designs from two original artworks using a unique software program to prepare the laser etching of the designs onto each medal's uneven surface;
  • casting, milling and rolling bars to cut blanks of a precise width and thickness;
  • triple striking each blank three separate times, with polishing and annealing (warming metal to make it more malleable) between each group of strikes to gradually form the medal into its complex final shape;
  • pressing a unique Mint-designed ribbon hanger into the body of each medal tested to withstand 200 lbs of pressure;
  • laser etching an individual design and text on 1014 different medals;
  • cladding each medal in a transparent protective coating to prevent premature wear and tarnishing; and,
  • cold-weather testing the medals to a temperature of -20C to confirm their integrity and durability.