By Hillary Kleck
It has been some time since the Paralympic Games first incorporated braille into the winners’ medals. This year the Paralympic medal artists have gone the extra mile to include competitors who are blind! Their new multi-sensory design was unveiled recently by the 2016 Rio Organizing Committee. All we can say is we wish we could win one!
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Medals are not only the most sustainable design ever produced, but also the most appealing to the ears! The medals for the first, second, and third place finishers in each event include tiny steel balls inside that make a sound when they are shaken. In order to discriminate the Gold from the Silver from the Bronze medals, each medal “level” has a different number of the steels balls inside so that they sound different. The Gold medal has the most balls (28 to be exact) inside so it sounds the loudest. The Silver has a few less (20) causing it to be noticeably quieter, while the Bronze is the quietest with only 16 steel balls.
Don’t worry though, the anticipated braille engraving of “Rio 2016” will still be included on every Paralympic medal, too!
Along with this exciting design for accessibility, the medals have our future Earth in mind as well. The materials used for both the medals and ribbons are sustainably sourced and partially recycled. Even the beautiful cases for the medals are made from certified freijo wood.
The 2016 Paralympic Games will be held in Rio, Brazil, during September 7-18, 2016.