Two years ago today on Feb. 12, 2010, the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games opened. Three months before that I was among a group of selected journalists invited to Whistler to photograph the Whistler Sliding Centre and the track made specifically for the sports of luge, bobsleigh and skeleton on the slopes of the Blackcomb Mountain.
This video offers an extremely rare look at the top of the Whistler sliding track. The same exact view that the eventual luge champion stared at just seconds before he slid down the track to Olympic glory.
I made the video in Nov. 2009 to reflect the excitement and danger of the sport. The race against the clock was also emphasized.
VIDEO – Starting point of the Whistler sliding track
On November 26, 2010 when a small group of people were waiting in line to see the return 2010 Olympic medal exhibit put on by the Royal Canadian Mint at its Vancouver Retail Store on 752 Granville Street, some were reminiscent about the seven-hour wait they endured when they went to see the hardwares the first time around in downtown Vancouver during the 2010 Games. In the original exhibit, 100,000+ people went through the gate, according to Alex Reeves, Senior Manager, Communications. More than half of those came to ‘meet’ the medals.
VIDEO – The Royal Canadian Mint Vancouver 2010 Back-By-Popular-Demand Medal Exhibit
5-Ounce Gold Coin—Look of The Games $9495.95.
Each Olympic medal weights about 550g while the paralympic ones weight a little more at 650g each. The two types are different in shape. While the Olympic medals are circular, the Paralympic variety is more like a square with rounded corners. The bronze medals were made of pure copper. The silver medals were in fact sterling silver. The gold medals actually used sterling silver as a base material and then plated with a micron layer of gold weighting six grams which is a requirement set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
A total of 615 Olympic medals and 399 Paralympic medals were made. Three sets of six medals (for both Olympic & Paralympic) were assigned to the IOC, The Mint and Teck Resources Limited, the two Vancouver 2010 Official Olympic Supporters.
An estimated 996 medals were given to the winning athletes (615 + 399 – 18 = 996).
Each one of the medals is completely unique. If one were to assemble all the Olympic medals together, the graphics pattern on the medals would form an orca, a mythical and respected creature that symbolizes teamwork and power for Canada’s native people. The First Nations design was by westcoast aboriginal artist Corinne Hunt. Likewise, the Paralympic medals would form the raven, another well-known native supernatural being.
The undulating surface of the medals reflects the mountain, sea and landscape that have made British Columbia so famous around the world. It took two years from design to finish to deliver the medals. It was a collaborative effort by Hunt, Omer Arbel, an internationally renowed industrial designer, the Royal Canadian Mint, Teck Resources Limited, and VANOC.
Even the underside of the medals have interesting features. Beyond the Olympic nomenclature in Canada’s two official languages of English and French and the distinctive 2010 Olympic and Paralympic emblems, the ones that are awarded to the winning athletes also have the sport and event that they competed in. The athlete’s name does not appear on the medal though, as the individual who won it did so for his/her own country.
The paralympic medals also have braille in raised form for the blind to read.
For this return exhibit, the Mint has also brought a variety of commemorative coins just in time for Holiday Season for the public to purchase. Among them is a Fine Silver Kilo Coin – Towards Confederation (2008) which is made of sterling silver with a face value of $250 but actually cost $1,599.95 to own. Also, a $75 Gold-colored RCMP (2007) coin that retails for $499.95. But the one that catches most eyes is the Vancouver 2010 5-Ounce 24k Gold Coin – Look of The Games that is available for $9,495.95. Well, actually, if you have to ask…
Unless The Mint decided to extend the dates, the 2010 Olympic medal exhibit will be closed after Sunday. However, the Vancouver Retail Store will remain open until February 13, 2011.
Latest info on Nov. 28, 7:00 AM: All advance tickets have been sold-out but stay tuned for details – http://www.mint.ca/Vancouver/
Back by popular demand, the Royal Canadian Mint brings the 2010 Olympic Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals and the 2010 Paralympic Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals back to Vancouver for a second exhibit from November 26-28, 2010. The first time the medals were shown in a public exhibit was in Vancouver in February and March of 2010 or during the entire duration of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This time around, the public gets a second-chance to have an up-close and personal experience in viewing and maybe handling these sports achievement recognitions that all athletes at the Vancouver 2010 Games were competing hard for. Admission to the public exhibit at the Royal Canadian Mint retail store in downtown Vancouver is free but tickets are required. Ticket reservation is available online – http://www.mint.ca/Vancouver
Friday, November 26, 2010: 10h30 to 20h00
Saturday, November 27, 2010: 09:30 to 17h00
Sunday, November 28, 2010: 10h30 to 16h00
Royal Canadian Mint Vancouver retail store – 752 Granville Street, Vancouver BC.
Don’t miss this golden (literally) opportunity to see and ‘feel’ the ultimate excitement of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games!
[Photo Credits: Ray Van Eng]
Vancouver 2010 Olympic Gold Medal
Vancouver 2010 Olympic Silver Medal
Vancouver 2010 Olympic Bronze Medal
Back side of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Gold Medal
All Vancouver 2010 medals have an undulating surface as one of its most unique features.
2010 Paralympic Games Bronze Medal
Back side of Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Silver Medal
Royal Canadian Mint logo. Royal Canadian Mint Vancouver Retail Store, 752 Granville St., Vancouver BC