July 16 2021
Designer Sakiko Matsumoto employed the motif of a spreading Japanese ogi fan, symbolizing sending out a breath of fresh air and the pivotal point bringing people together.
“I was looking for a motif that would be easily recognized as Japanese,” Matsumoto told reporters. “Athletes are people who can influence the world…and when you think of the games, the pivot will be the athletes.”
On the reverse side of the medals, 10.7 millimeters at their thickest point, are designs of rock, flower, wood, leaf and water portraying nature in Japan in different textures.
To help visually impaired athletes, each medal has one to three indentations on their edge, with gold having one, silver two and bronze three.
“I didn’t want them just to look beautiful on the outside but also to be things that are recognizable when touched, a universal design,” Matsumoto said. “My mind went blank when I got the call saying my design had won.”
The medals were created entirely from metals recycled from mobile phones and other electronic devices.
Approximately 5,000 medals will be produced using metal collected from small recycled electronic devices. These were donated by the Japanese public in a nationwide campaign April 2017 through March 2019.
“I hope understanding about the para sports will deepen across the nation, and the symbiosis of society with those with or without disabilities will accelerate,” he said.
Tokyo last hosted the games in 1964 and will be the first city to host the Summer Paralympics twice. Japan is aiming for 22 gold medals — a result that would be its best — despite finishing with none in Rio de Janeiro.
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