There are over three years until the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but preparation for even the smallest details is underway.
One of those details is the creation of the medals that will be presented to the winning athletes of the Games. This week, Tokyo 2020 invited the Japanese population to give the organizing committee its discarded electronic devices in order to use the metal in the production of the gold, silver and bronze medals for the Games.
“An Olympic medial is one of the most coveted items in existence,” US decathlete Ashton Eaton said in a statement. “The life stories of so many are defined by the pursuit of those metal medallions, and those same stories are what inspire and bring millions of us together.
“And now, thanks to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Medal Project not only do the athletes inspire with their stories, but each medal itself has a story of its own! The best part is that each citizen has a chance to contribute to the story, to raise awareness about a sustainable future and to make a unique contribution. And, most excitingly, they have a chance to be part of the Olympic journey.”
This project highlights Tokyo 2020’s desire to include the Japanese people in the spirit of the Games. It also responds to Recommendation 4 of Olympic Agenda 2020 that says sustainability will be integrated into all aspects of the planning and execution of the Games. Well, all aspects certainly includes the medals themselves, one of the biggest symbols of the competition.
The committee’s goal is to collect as much as eight tons of metal (gold: 40 kg, silver: 4920 kg, bronze: 2944 kg), which will be reduced to just two tons after the production process, the amount needed to produce the 5,000 Olympic and Paralympic medals.
Beginning in April, collection boxes will be installed in more than 2,400 NTT DOCOMO stores, a company that was appointed at a Tokyo 2020 executive meeting, and an undecided number of public offices throughout the country.
The collection will end once the 8-ton target is reached.
“Paralympic Athletes work hard every day to reach the Podium,” Paralympic bronze medallist, Daisuke Ikezaki said. “We are able to win our medals with the help and support of numerous people. I believe our medals nurture hope and dreams in people and in the future of the Paralympic sport. I think Tokyo 2020 Medal Project is an amazing initiate, which engages all of Japan in making Olympic and Paralympic medals. It also inspires athletes to work even harder for winning one.”
This concept of incorporating support from the surrounding community in the form of their recycled possessions has also been seen in the sporting world when the Sacramento Kings asked fans, former players and current players to donate shoes in order to reuse the rubber in the new Golden One Center’s playing surface.