Qian Yang with her medal

Qian Yang with her medal. Image: Tokyo 2020 / Twitter

Medal Ceremonies look a little bit different at Tokyo 2020. With different protocols, and a different looking dais, there's plenty of meaning behind it all.

The first official day of competition at Tokyo 2020 saw China’s Qian Yang claim the first gold medal of the Games, winning the Women’s 10m Air Rifle. For all your Tokyo 2020 coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.

However, as with the nature of these Games as a whole, there was a significant difference in the presentation of the medals to what has traditionally taken place at the Olympic Games.

Where the medals would normally be presented and placed around the athlete’s necks, at Tokyo the athletes will be presented with the medals but place them around their own necks, to ensure everyone’s safety and compliance with the COVID-19 protocols in place for the Games.

Despite the significant change, this is not the only notable part of the Victory Ceremonies at Tokyo, with a few interesting characteristics of the ceremonies, podiums, and even the medals themselves. 

The Victory bouquets

Tokyo 2020 will be the first Games since London 2012 to award victory bouquets to athletes. The flowers used in the bouquets will be sourced from areas of Japan affected by the 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, a poignant tribute to the region which will showcase its attractions on the world’s biggest sporting stage.

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The Victory Ceremony podiums

In an Olympic first, the podiums used in the Victory Ceremonies at Tokyo 2020 will be made of recycled plastic sourced from household items. The podiums are designed by Asao Tokolo, who also designed the Tokyo 2020 emblem, and represent the message of “unity in diversity” represented also in the emblems.

Each side of each podium features a three-dimensional representation of the pattern, which in the colour of indigo blue represents the “refined elegance and sophistication that exemplifies Japan”. 

The Medals

The medals that will be awarded at Tokyo 2020 are designed to resemble polished stones, aiming to represent the overarching concept that “to achieve glory, athletes have to strive for victory on a daily basis”. Created by Japanese designer Junichi Kawanishi, the medals symbolise the energy of the athletes and those who support them through the way they interact with light.

Additionally, the medals are also designed to symbolise diversity, representing the honour of those who compete and work hard in their given disciplines.

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