|Medal design unveiled to mark 500-day countdown|
BEIJING, March 27 (Xinhua) -- The athletes will be awarded medals made of metal and jade when they make it to the podium in the 2008 Olympic Games.
The Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee (BOCOG) unveiled the unique medal design at a grand ceremony held at the Capital Museum of China Tuesday afternoon as part of festivities marking the 500-day countdown to the Games, which will fall on August 8, 2008.
The front of the medals follows the standard design set by the International Olympic Committee -- an image of Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory and the Panathinaiko stadium where the Olympic Games were revived in 1896, while a piece of jade is on the back with the seal-like Beijing Olympic emblem engraved in the metal centerpiece.
The medals, which are 70mm in diameter and 6mm in thickness, also incorporate subtle detailing, as highlighted by the medal ribbons which feature interlocking dragons and a cloud pattern.
"Noble and elegant, the Beijing Olympic medal is a blending of traditional Chinese culture and the Olympism. It gives the medal winners great honor and acclamation as recognition of their achievement," Jiang Xiaoyu, BOCOG executive vice president, said at the launching ceremony.
Created by a group formed by the China Central Academy of Fine Arts and the China Banknote Printing and Minting Corporation, the medal design was picked from 265 works that BOCOG received in a worldwide competition.
"As one of the judges of the Beijing 2008 Olympics medal design competition, I think the winning medals design is an image that is both immediately Chinese in its form and embodies the traditional style of the Olympic medal," said Clinton Dines, president of the China division of BHP Billiton, the diversified minerals and medals sponsor of the 2008 Games.
"It is a truly East-meets-West emblem of an event that embodies China's economic and national achievements in recent years and emergence onto the global stage."
The Beijing Olympic medals also received heaps of praise from athletes.
"It's very unique," said Gao Min, the former "Queen of Diving" who had two Olympic gold medals to her name. "In Chinese culture, jade is the embodiment of good luck. I hope the design can bring good luck to all the athletes."
Deng Yaping, a multiple Olympic and world table tennis champion, said the medal design was so "impressive" and "perfect" that she was jealous of those athletes who can make the podium in 2008.
Last month, IOC president Jacques Rogge described the Beijing Olympic medals as very "innovative" and "nice" after the design was approved by the IOC executive board.
Dines said about 6,000 medals would be made for the 2008 Games.