The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 7, February 12, 2006, Article 4


Dick Johnson writes: "Has anyone seen a picture of the 2006
Turin Olympic Medal? I wonder how soon before these will be
called a "donut on a rope"?  I would have expected a better
designed medal from Italy, which is known for its outstanding
medallic art.

The 2006 Winter Olympic Medal has a large aperture (that's
a hole in the middle for those of you in Rio Linda California).
The relief is extremely shallow, typical of pictographs shown
at every venue at the Olympics and in all Olympic literature.
A pictograph has no detail, it is in silhouette form only.
(On medals it is symbolic of something from the future --
it hasn't existed yet so its detail cannot be shown.
Pictographs are biplaner, of two planes, on two levels.
Medallic artists are loath to do many of these because it
doesn't require any sculptural talent to create a medallic
pictograph. The charm of a medal is, of course, it can exhibit
detail -- a lot of detial -- in a small space; but this
requires an oversize model and equipment for reducing the

The name on the Turin neck ribbon is good feature, but I
think it has been done before. The large hole is a first,

Olympic medals are an opportunity for medallic recognition
of the host country because of the widespread publicity the
medals receive worldwide. It is also an opportunity to do
something really creative. My favorite is one I believe
from the 1992 Albertville France Winter Olympics. It was
a combination of crystal and metal, the clear crystal being
symbolic of ice. Multimedia is permissible in exquisite
medallic art these days.

I haven't heard yet who the designer is, or what firm made
the Turin Olympic medals. Perhaps the firm was not a traditional
medal manufacturers. The medals are always made in the country
hosting the Olympics. But lately these contracts have been
going to firms not known for previously producing medallic art.
It shows."

[I did manage to find an image of the medals on official
Olympic web site, along with a description of their design,
the designer's reasoning, and claim of " three-dimensional
characteristics." -Editor]

"The medal concept was worked upon by Ottaviani International
and the TOROC graphic team, headed by Dario Quatrini. The medal
is round with an empty space at the centre, representing the
Italian piazza. The medal will be wrapped up in its ribbon,
which, unlike in previous Games, will not be sewn to its top.
The front of the medal will include the graphic elements of the
Games, while the back of the medal will feature the pictogram
of the sports discipline in which the medal was won. To highlight
the three-dimensional characteristics of the medal, its surface
has been carefully made using full and empty spaces, with shiny
and satiny textures."

"Quatrini, who created the design for the medals, incorporated
views, ideas and models from Italian history and its tradition
of forms and manufacturing: rings, ancient coins and ornaments.
The solution of the circle with the space at the centre links
all the basic themes and motifs of the Turin Games and embodies
the leitmotiv of Torino 2006 - the piazza. The medal is also
round like the Olympic rings or a symbolic victory ring and,
with its open space at its centre, it reveals the place where
the heart beats, the symbol of life itself. The medal is only
complete, however, when it is hanging geometrically from the
athlete's neck, lying on his chest, circling and revealing the
area near his heart and focusing attention on the athlete's
vital energy and human emotions."

Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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