For the first time jade is used for the Beijing Olympic medals. The medals have been designed with inspiration coming from 'bi', China's ancient jade piece inscribed with a dragon pattern. The medals symbolize nobility and virtue and are the embodiment of traditional Chinese values of ethics and honour, emitting a strong Chinese flavour. The winners' medal is made of gold weighing not less than six grams each. The medal for the runner up is made of pure silver.
Noble and elegant, the medals are a blending of traditional Chinese culture and Olympism. On their obverse side, the medals reflect the Greek character of the Olympic Games: the goddess of victory Nike pictured in the Panathinaikos Stadium. While on their reverse side, the medals are inlaid with jade with the Beijing Games emblem engraved in the metal centrepiece. The design inspiration of the medal hook derives from jade 'huang', a ceremonial jade piece decorated with a double dragon pattern and 'Pu', the reed mat pattern.
For Jian XIAOYU, Executive Vice-President of the Organizing Committee for the Games (BOCOG), 'The Beijing 2008 Games medals will be a major part of the Olympic legacy for China. The medals embody strong Chinese style and elegant art, and are a harmonious combination of Chinese culture and Olympism, making them a vehicle to disseminate the Olympic spirit and the concepts of the Beijing Games, as well as to showcase Chinese culture and arts, and the high levels of design and technology.'
The medal box, ribbon and certificate, which were released simultaneously, also embody the aesthetic taste of traditional Chinese culture and reflect the distinct Chinese characteristics and style. The medal box is a wooden lacquer box made by traditional Chinese techniques. The box is rectangular in shape, with four slightly curving sides of its lid and base, a symbol of heaven and earth, which conveys the message of happiness and best wishes for the world. The ribbon is exquisitely designed with a cloud pattern woven on the red strap, conveying a joyful and festive atmosphere. The certificate is made of thin silk and rice paper, an integrated whole of traditional techniques and modern printing.
The Olympic Sailing Competition will take place in Qingdao from the 9-21 August, with the Medal Races taking place from 16-21 August. 22-23 August are scheduled as reserve days. Gold medals will be decided in eleven Olympic sailing events, featuring a total of 400 sailors.
Find out more at the ISAF Beijing 2008 Olympic Games microsite - www.sailing.org/olympics2008.
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