London - With a figure of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, carved on one side, the Olympic medals symbolise the sporting glory which every athlete aspires to achieve.
Designed by renowned decorative artist David Watkins and minted at the Royal Mint headquarters in Llantrisant, South Wales, the medals at the London Olympics are set to be awarded at 302 victory ceremonies across the different venues.
The obverse of the medal portrays Nike, stepping out of the depiction of the Parthenon to arrive in the host city. On the reverse are five symbolic elements: the amphitheatre or the venues, the athletes’ efforts, the Thames symbolising London, celebrations and ‘place’ as in a map inset.
The London medals, weighing 375-400 gm, are 85mm in diameter and 7mm thick. While the gold medal is made up mostly of silver and copper with just over 1 percent gold, the silver medal comprises over 90 percent silver and the remainder copper.
The bronze medal constitutes 97 percent copper with the remainder being zinc and tin.
The design for the medals was chosen by a panel which received designs from over 100 artists. The medals can be seen at the British Museum throughout the Games.
Spectators barred from texting, tweeting ‘unnecessarily’
The London Games organisers are already losing much of their sleep due to the near empty stands in most of the venues. But now a new problem is bugging them, with reports of television coverage being affected due to an overload of network.
To lessen the network load, the organisers have asked fans inside the stadiums to avoid sending non-urgent text messages and tweets during events.
Coverage of a few events including the men’s road cycling race was interrupted leaving many viewers aghast. There were also reports of commentators unable to get information on timings clocked by participants due to issues surrounding the communications network of the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite navigation system.
It was particularly annoying for the home crowd, who had tuned in to watch what had been billed as one of Britain’s best chances of winning an early gold medal with road racing cyclist Mark Cavendish in action.
Many vented their anger on Twitter at the lack of information, and their disappointment at Cavendish’s eventual defeat.
Dipping mercury takes out heat from beach volleyball
The London weather has already started to play havoc with several of the events getting delayed, but this time it has turned out to be a true spoilsport after a dip in the mercury forced the beach volleyball players to cover up.
The two-time defending gold medallists from the United States Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor wore long-sleeved shirts on top of bikini bottoms when the temperature at the start of their game stood at 17 degrees Celsius.
Their opponents, Australians Natalie Cook and Tasmin Hinchley, wore long pants and short-sleeved shirts covered their bikini tops.
With the weatherman forecasting the temperatures to remain as they are for the next two days, the spectators will have to take heart watching the bikini-clad cheerleaders who keep dashing out to dance the conga and writhe on all fours.
When Olympic tickets went on sale, beach volleyball was one of the most oversubscribed events. A year on, it continues to be the hot ticket of the Games.