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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 9, February 26, 2006, Article 22

MORE 2006 WINTER OLYMPIC MEDAL CRITICISM

I missed getting this into the last issue, but better late than
never.  The Associated Press published an article February 15th
featuring various criticisms and comments on the 2006 Winter
Olympic medal design:

"Some folks think it looks like a doughnut. Others see a bagel.
Or a giant Life Saver, or a compact disc. An Austrian Olympian
used it as an eye patch. Whatever the view, it really is an
Olympic medal."

"Designer Dario Quatrini says the hole represents the open space
of an Italian piazza, or city square. Except the medal isn't
square at all  it's round. And when worn, Quatrini has explained,
it has yet another meaning:

"Circling and revealing the area near the heart and focusing
attention on the athlete's vital energy and human emotions,"
says the Turin Olympic Committee.

On Wednesday, after winning the women's downhill in San Sicario,
Michaela Dorfmeister of Austria smiled broadly and held her gold
medal to her cheek, then squinted through the opening as if it
were a peephole."

"That hole in the middle gives a sense of emptiness," she said.
"The old medals gave a more concrete feeling; they gave you the
sense of the accomplishment behind them."

Marco Leoni didn't get it, either. A steelworker who journeyed
from Varese, north of Milan, to follow ice hockey, Leoni said
he wasn't so sure there was a connection between the holes and
piazzas.

"They're supposed to be a square? They look more like doughnuts
or rings to me."

Nonetheless, he wasn't put off. "I like them," he said. "They're
original."

Which is what every host city is dreams of while deciding what
the ultimate award of sports excellence should look like. The
Winter Games, unlike the     Summer Olympics, allows organizers
great freedom in designing the shape and size and content of
medals. That, as well as creating the competitions' logos and
slogans, are all done at the local level.

At the 1994 Lillehammer Games in Norway, for instance, the medals
contained sparagmite, a stone extracted from the ski jump site.
At Nagano in 1998, Japanese organizers used lacquer. In 2002, at
Salt Lake City, the medals weren't round at all, but rather had
uneven edges that were supposed to look like river rocks found
in Utah streams and rivers.

Some critics said they resembled cow pies."

"But in the end, to the athletes who win one, the issue has
nothing to do with size, shape or doughnuts.

Jennifer Heil of Canada won a gold medal in women's moguls on
the opening day of competition. She said she likes hers just fine.

"I just wanted it to be heavy, because I knew there was, like,
a big hole in it, and I wasn't disappointed.

"I think it's really cool."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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