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Let the Games Begin

The athletes, the venues, the medals, the odds, the styles and everything else you need to know about the London 2012 Olympic Games

Author KEVIN ALEXANDER

LOCOG VIA GETTY IMAGES

DESIGNS ON THE PRIZE
Meet this year’s medals, created by British artist David Watkins with help from the British Museum

The front of an Olympic Games medal always depicts the same scene: Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, departing Athens’ Panathinaiko Stadium for the host city. But the back of the 2012 Olympic Games’ version will feature Watkins’ particular conception, which has five symbolic elements:

1. A background with a bowl-like shape meant to evoke an amphitheater.

2. A jewel-like emblem, the logo of the London Games, meant as a metaphor for the Modern City.

3. A grid radiating energy to signify cohesiveness and outreach, representing the athletes’ efforts.

4. In the background, the River Thames as a symbol of London and a celebratory element (as it resembles a fluttering baroque ribbon).

5. An inscribed square that contrasts with the circularity of the medal and reaffirms a focus on the center, giving a sense of place as a map inset might.

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