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The Story

A Global Legacy

As an all-Canadian achievement destined for global fame, the Vancouver 2010 athlete medals are the result of the Royal Canadian Mint's close collaboration with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) and metal supplier Teck Resources Limited.

New Milestones

The Vancouver 2010 athlete medals establish several new milestones. Here just some of the facts at a glance:

  • between 500 to 576 grams each, they are among the heaviest in Games history
  • with unique designs, no two medals are alike
  • laser etching was used to flawlessly reproduce the unique, West Coast First Nations designs on the undulating surface of the medals

Unparalleled Expertise

Ground-breaking design and unparalleled technical expertise have helped the Royal Canadian Mint play a role in writing a new chapter in the history of Olympic and Paralympic Games medals. The radically undulating (wavy) face of the medals, evoking the iconic sea and mountains of the Vancouver-Whistler landscape, are powerful tributes to the performances of the Olympic and Paralympic Games athletes who will receive them.

Compelling Symbols

In honour of the Four Host First Nations people on whose territory the Games will be held, the athlete medals are struck with compelling symbols of West Coast native art. Olympic Winter Games medals are adorned with features of the Orca, powerful and knowing no boundaries, while striking aspects of the Raven, supremely creative and agile transformer, appear on the medals of the Paralympic Winter Games.

Facts at a Glance...

  • All medals for the 2010 Winter Games were manufactured in the Mint's Ottawa facility.
  • It took one year of planning, innovation and prototype development to bring the ambitious design of the athlete medals to life and proceed to production.
  • There are a total of 615 athlete medals for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
  • There are a total of 399 athlete medals for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
  • Weighing between 500 and 576 grams each, Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games medals are among the heaviest in Games history.
  • 34 Mint engineers, engravers, die technicians, machinists and production experts have combined forces to create an unforgettable series of athlete medals.
  • Over 30 steps, representing 402 days (2817 hours) of precision manufacturing, were taken to produce the medals.
  • The undulated (wavy) form of the medals for the 2010 Winter Games is a first.
  • Every Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games medal is unique – no two designs are the same.
  • To strike the medals into their unconventional shape, a total of 12 undulated dies had to be computer-sculpted and milled.
  • Given the undulated (wavy) form of the medals, the motifs and text had to be individually laser engraved.
  • The undulating form of each medal for the 2010 Winter Games was inspired by snow, the sea and the breathtaking natural environment of British Columbia.
  • The unique design of every medal for the 2010 Winter Games reflects the athlete's individual story and achievement.
  • The Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games medals include Braille on the reverse.
  • A clear, protective coating has been applied to prevent tarnishing of all medals for the 2010 Winter Games.
  • Each medal was struck nine times with 1900 tons of pressure – that's the weight of 760 cars piled on top of each other.