It’s hard to believe that the 2020 Summer Olympics are less than a year away, it seems like just yesterday we were in Rio de Janeiro for the Winter games. With the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games getting closer each day, there is still lots of prep work that needs to be done in order to ensure that the games go smoothly. Perhaps one of the most important and memorable moments in any Olympics is the medal ceremony, where the winners are awarded for their victories. Today, officials unveiled the official Tokyo 2020 medals, which are being made from recycled electronics. While this may seem a bit strange at first, they are actually quite unique.
Perhaps one of the coolest features of the Tokyo 2020 medals is that Japanese citizens essentially helped create them. A two-year long recycling program was run by Japanese phone company, NTT Docomo. From April 2017 to March 2019, the company set up collection boxes in its stores, where people could drop off their old cell phones and other small electronic devices that would eventually be recycled and used in the Olympic medals.
Over 79,000 tons of electronic devices were collected over the two-year period, bringing in over 6 million cell phones. According to officials, all of the recycled electronic devices were turned into 2,200 kilograms of copper and zinc, 3,500 kilograms of silver, and 32 kilograms of gold. All of this material was then used to create medals for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games, featuring a design by Junichi Kawanishi who entered the official design competition for the games and won.
The medals will be 8.5 centimeters in diameter and aim to resemble polished stones. These medals will feature the Greek goddess of Victory, Nike, along with “Tokyo 2020” and the iconic Olympic rings. While it still remains to be seen who will be taking home these medals, the process may be worthy of a medal itself.