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© RIA Novosti. Aleksey Nikolskyi

Sochi Olympic medals withstand heat, crushing force - makers

by R-Sport at 29/01/2014 14:06

Medals for next month’s Winter Olympics in Sochi can survive extreme heat and eight tons of crushing power, manufacturers said Wednesday, less than a year after shattered medals caused red faces at a major Russian sports event.

The chunky Olympic medals, inlaid with a craggy greyscale design illustrating the Caucasus mountains, were approved by President Vladimir Putin last year and have now undergone final checks ahead of their delivery to Sochi.

Extra scrutiny is likely to have been prompted by a spate of shattering mishaps that led to a recall of all 3,014 medals at the University Games in Kazan in July, a $7-billion multi-sports event seen as a test for Russia’s hosting skills ahead of Sochi.

To avoid similar failures, manufacturers have tried to expect the unexpected, according to Sergei Lukyanchenko, technical director of the Adamas jewelry firm that makes the medals.

“We have studied international experience, on the basis of which we tried to predict all possible situations - a dip in champagne, accidental falls, someone testing [the medal] with a bite,” he said in a statement from the company.

“The medals of the Games in Sochi are, after all, like a business card for our country the world over. We’ve done everything possible to guarantee their quality and reliability.”

The medals have survived "extreme differentials in temperature" as well as forces of two tons on the rim and eight tons on the face, as well as 100 kilograms of strain on the pin that attaches them to the medal's ribbon, the company said.

The metal-polycarbonate Sochi medals were crafted by four Russian designers working for the U.S.-based Leo Burnett advertising agency.

Organizing committee head Dmitry Chernyshenko has said the design reflects the "eternal values of Russia," as well as the country's "innovative approach to the Games."

In Sochi, the front of the medals, as is usual, displays the Olympic rings. On the reverse side, the official name of the Games will be written in Russian, English and French over the English name of the competition and the Sochi 2014 emblem.

In total, a record 98 sets of medals will be up for grabs in 15 sports at the Games, which run February 7-23, 2014.

The Paralympic medals are slightly heavier and feature Braille.

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