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Ancient Japanese sword-making technique used to craft Toronto 2015 medals

Ancient Japanese sword-making technique used to craft Toronto 2015 medals

Posted by Diego Hidalgo on March 03, 2015

The TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games Organizing Committee (TO2015) today unveiled the competition medals for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. Athletes from 41 countries and territories across the Americas will compete for 4,283 medals in 825 medal events.

As athletes across the Americas get ready for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, the bronze, silver and gold medals they will compete for are following their own unique paths. The paths of the medals originate at different points across the western hemisphere thanks to the collaboration of Barrick Gold Corporation, Official Metal Supplier, and the Royal Canadian Mint, the Official Medals Design and Production Supplier.

The TORONTO 2015 medals were unveiled at the Royal Ontario Museum today in a ceremony hosted by Canadian Olympic gold medallist Mark Tewksbury.

“I still feel a sense of pride and accomplishment every time I share my gold medal from Barcelona,” said Tewksbury. “These TORONTO 2015 medals are pieces of art in their own right, and reflect all the hard work, dedication and the difficult journey athletes will take to wear one around their neck and cherish for life.”

Copper, Silver & Gold Pan Am/Parapan Am games medals. Photo: Toronto 2015

“The Games unite us, inspire us and captivate us, and it’s the competition — the elite athletes striving for a moment of near perfection — that make it all so thrilling,” said Saäd Rafi, chief executive officer, TO2015. “So, we’re grateful to all our partners for striving for that same level of excellence in our medals.”

For athletes, the path to international sport usually begins in their hometown. Skill and athleticism propel them to the next level. And it is a similar journey for the medals that they strive to achieve. Starting in local mining communities where the raw materials for the TORONTO 2015 medals begin their journey, forged by skilled hands, hard work and civic pride.

The materials for the medals were supplied by Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corporation from three of its operations across the Americas: copper from its Zaldívar mine in Chile; silver from its Pueblo Viejo mine in the Dominican Republic; and gold from its Hemlo mine in Ontario. The teamwork and pride of the people at Barrick reflect the excellence and dedication of the athletes competing at the Games. Barrick also has operations in Argentina, Peru and the United States.

Rear side of Pan Am/Parapan AM games medals Photo: Toronto 2015

“We’re honoured to supply the materials for the medals that will mark the success of the best athletes of the Americas,” said Kelvin Dushnisky, co-president, Barrick Gold Corporation. “Everyone in our organization — especially those who produced the copper, silver and gold — will be thrilled every time an athlete holds up their medal to the cheers of their country.”

Just as athletes hone their skill with hours of training, the unique Games medals will be skilfully crafted by the Royal Canadian Mint in an innovative process featuring 25 production steps. The process involves 30 Mint employees, including engineers, engravers, die technicians, machinists and production experts working together. The team’s combined experience in medals production totals more than 100 years.

“Royal Canadian Mint employees have come together with pride to produce one-of-a-kind medals which truly symbolize the years of training and effort put forth by the remarkable athletes who will compete at the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games this summer,” said Sandra Hanington, president and chief executive officer, Royal Canadian Mint.

For the first time in medals history, the Royal Canadian Mint has applied the ancient technique of mokume gane, fusing different alloys to reflect the multicultural celebration of athletes and the fellowship of nations coming together under the motto “United We Play!” The mokume gane technique produces another valuable result: Each of the 4,283 competition medals is truly unique.


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