The new Olympic medals for Paris 2024 are made of metal removed from the Eiffel Tower during renovation work in the twentieth century and feature, alongside an image of the historic French monument, a depiction of the Parthenon of Acropolis in Athens, Greece.
This year’s Olympic medals, the design of which was overseen by French jeweler Chaumet, are not just inspired by the Eiffel Tower but actually contain an original metal piece of the historic landmark.
During the unveiling of the designs today, Thursday, February 8th, Olympic Games organizers stated that iron pieces removed from the tower during earlier renovation work were repurposed to produce the medals’ hexagonal centerpiece, with the Paralympics medal decorated by a pictorial representation of the Eiffel Tower, as if viewed from below.
The organizers added that the idea was to give victorious athletes “veritable pieces of the history of Paris” to take home with them.
The Parthenon of Acropolis, Eiffel Tower, and Greek Goddess Nike on Medals for the Paris Olympic Games
Since the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, the reverse side of all Olympic medals has featured an image of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike, alongside a depiction of the Parthenon of Acropolis in Athens. The Paris Games will do the same, placing the Eiffel Tower alongside the ancient Greek monument.
How Were the Medals Designed?
The preserved metal pieces of the Parisian monument utilized for the medals were first cleaned of the tower’s distinctive dark brown paint and then cut into hexagons before being embossed with the Paris 2024 logo.
The metal cuts are held in place with a claw-like setting, a method commonly used to fix gems to items of jewelry.
— Kote (@kotecinho) February 8, 2024
Ahead of the reveal, the creative director of Chaumet’s Paris atelier Clementine Massonat-Schaller said the design aimed to “bring out” the hexagonal centerpiece “like a precious stone,” as reported by CNN.
However, while the Eiffel Tower served as “the main inspiration,” Massonnat-Schaller added, the jewelry brand also searched its own archives, including its history of creating jewel-encrusted tiaras.
The jeweler, whose parent company is LVMH, said this was most apparent in the lines resembling rays of sunshine that emanate from the medal’s center, adding, “A tiara is a piece that makes the wearer radiate.”
In a different approach to previous years, both the Olympic and Paralympic medals share one face this year. In a statement announcing the designs, Paris 2024 Olympic Games President Tony Estanguet remarked that the decision was symbolic of a “coming together” of the two events, as reported by CNN.
In July 2023, organizers of the Games made it known that this year’s Olympic torch would be the first in history to be used for both the Olympics and Paralympics. Designed with a ripple effect meant to conjure an image of moving water, French designer Mathieu Lehanneur’s 3.3-pound torch will be made entirely out of recycled steel.