Yesterday morning, the official medals for the 2010 Winter Olympics were unveiled in Vancouver, British Columbia. The gold, silver and bronze medals each feature original West Coast aboriginal designs of an orca and a raven.
As reported by CBC News, these unique medals have the distinction of representing a number of Olympic firsts. Firstly, each medal will incorporate a portion of an image cropped from two larger master works of art by Canadian designer and artist of Komoyue and Tlingit heritage, Corrine Hunt.
Secondly, the medals will not be created using standard circular, flat surfaces. Instead, they will feature “undulating” surfaces that intend to represent the West Coast landscape of mountains, waves and drifting snow.
If you ask this blogger, they look horrible. The warped shape of the medals looks more like an old vinyl record that was left near an overheated radiator for too long. “Ugly” is the first thing that comes to mind when viewing this new and supposedly innovative design.
Canadian industrial designer and architect Omer Arbel takes credit for the 2010 Winter Olympics Medal design. “I've always thought of the Olympic Games as a catalyst for great contemporary design. It's exciting to have arrived at a piece of work that challenges people's expectations of what a medal can be,” he said.
“For me, it was really important that in some way every medal would be completely unique from every other medal; and yet be connected to each other and to Corrine's larger artworks in some profound manner. It's a beautiful idea because it means on a conceptual level you need all the medals together to complete the artworks,” Arbel told CBC News.
The orca, according to Hunt, represents a beautiful creature that lives in the community with a strong tie to native traditions. The reverse side of the medals will carry the official names of the Olympic Games in both English and French as well as the emblems for the name of the sport and event that the medal is awarded within.
While the sentiment behind the design of the 2010 Winter Olympic medals is a noble one, the end result may be met with some criticism. Regardless, it should have no effect on the many athletes from all over the world who will be vying to get these medals placed around their necks this coming February.