Australian icons featured on Paralympic medal design

6 April 2000

Amy Winters displays a Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games gold medal

Will Burgess / Reuters



SYDNEY - Royal jeweller Stuart Devlin has chosen the internationally-recognized Australian icons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House to feature in his magnificent winners' medals for the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. Mr. Devlin, who is, by appointment, goldsmith and jeweller to Queen Elizabeth II, has created a medal with a wonderfully tactile surface and intricate detail of two of the best known tourist attractions in the world. "I wanted to create a medal that would instantly say 'Sydney' and give it the grandeur and prestige that the Paralympic Games are now attracting," he said.



In the past, Paralympic Games medals have contained braille lettering on the reverse side naming the host city and year. However, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) approved the design with no hesitation because of its considerable tactile interest. The reverse side of the medal features the Sydney Paralympic Organizing Committee (SPOC) and IPC logos while the border of the front side depicts seven major sports arenas for the Sydney 2000 Games. Australia's World Record holder for the 100m and 200m sprints for her disability class, Amy Winters, and a gold medallist in the 200m at the 1996 Atlanta Games, was one of the first to view Mr Devlin's fine handiwork today. "I think they're stunning. And I know that every athlete coming to the Games will want to take one home to keep... I know it's the uppermost thought on my mind at this moment. The gold medal version, in particular, has a great personal appeal to me," she said.



Sydney Paralympic Organising Committee (SPOC) Chief Executive, Lois Appleby, said each medal would represent a piece of history. "There are 561 medal events at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games including 243 medal events to be won in Amy's chosen sport of athletics," she said. Not only are the medals unique, the way they will be carried out to the presentation podium for each of the 561 medal ceremonies is also a one-off.



The renowned Gavala Aboriginal Art & Cultural Education Centre in Sydney is producing 300 hand-made medal trays, or "coolomons", to carry the gold, silver and bronze medals. It is the first time indigenous art has been used at a Paralympic Games medal ceremony. The symbols on the coolomons tell the story of people visiting a ceremonial site for a special occasion, while the background colours represent the landscape.



Jade Rose, who is one of the major artists on the project, said: "Gavala is an Aboriginal-owned and -operated centre. We are proud to have contributed by way of our hand-made coolomons. It is important to Aboriginal Australia that our culture and our art is being recognised at such a prestigious international event." 



SPOC also announced today that the Australian Native Flower Growers & Promoters Inc (ANFGP) will be supplying approximately 2,500 floral bouquets to present to the winning athletes at each medal ceremony.


ANFGP members will spend 820 hours over 10 days to prepare the bouquets. The bouquets have been designed by Elaine Slade, Nola Parry and Craig Scott, all of whom confess a passion for Australian native flowers. "Our warehouse at the Sydney Flower Markets will be a hive of activity each day of the Games as we will be making only the required number of bouquets each competition day and delivering them fresh to Homebush Bay," Ms Slade said.



Of course, to hang the medals around the athletes' necks, ribbons are needed and Woolmark have produced and supplied the material featuring the logos of the IPC and SPOC in the colours of Paralympic green and blue. Chairman of The Woolmark Company, Tony Sherlock, said that Woolmark and all Australian woolgrowers were proud to have been invovled in the design and manufacture of the Paralympic Games medal ribbons.



"Our hope is that every Australian Paralympian will have a wool ribbon around their neck in October and that at the end of the ribbon is a gold medal," Mr Sherlock said. "We wish all the athletes every success and would like them to know that 45,000 wool growers are right behind them." 



SPOC is grateful to the Ophir Gold Project and BHP for supplying the precious metals that will go into the Sydney 2000 gold, silver and bronze medals. The two organisations are also supplying the "ingredients" for the Olympic Games medals. And finally, the medals are being manufactured by The Perth Mint and the Royal Australian Mint, which are also producing the Sydney 2000 Olympic coin collection and Olympic victory medals. The Perth Mint and Royal Australian Mint are melting down old 1c and 2c pieces to make the Paralympic bronze medals.




"It's an honour to be associated with the Paralympic Games and we are delighted to have been entrusted with the manufacture of the Paralympic winners' medals," Chief executive Officer of Gold Corporation, operator of The Perth Mint, Don Mackay-Coghill, said. Controller of the Royal Australian Mint, Graeme Moffatt, said: "There's something very special about the spirit of the Paralympic Games and it has been a privilege working with the organizers."


Team King
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updated 07/01/2000
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US Paralympics

US Paralympics