Category Archives: paralympics

Rio Medal Winners Delighted in Every Sense.

What a wonderful idea -Paralympic medal winners now look and sound like champions. This is a great step forward in Paralympic medal design that can delight winners in each of their senses.

That’s because when the gold, silver and bronze medals for the 2016 games in Rio are shaken, they each make a different noise. The new feature gives visually impaired athletes another way to identify which medal they’ve won.

Victor Hugo Berbert, the manager in charge of the new sound element, told the International Business Times that he hopes the addition leads to more design elements that promote inclusivity.

“That the next games bring other sensory elements for the athletes and that this might carry on,” he told the outlet.

Each of the 2,642 medals made for the Paralympic games has a device inside with a different number of steel balls, giving each color a different tone, according to the Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games’ site.

The bronze medals, for instance, have 16 steel balls, producing the lowest noise. Silver medals have 20 balls, creating a slightly higher rattle and the gold medals have 28, generating the loudest tone. You can hear three sound levels in the video below:

All of the medals also have “Rio 2016 Paralympic Games” written on them in braille.

The aim was to give athletes who are visually impaired a more personalized commemoration.

“To not just be able to show the medal, but for those who have a visual or sensory impairment to be able to feel it not just by touching it, not just with the Braille that is on it, but with its sound,” Berbert, told IBT.

The idea for the addition occurred when designer Claudia Gamboa had an “ah-ha” moment one day while a team was thinking of ways to improve the medals, Dalcacio Reis, the Olympics’ design manager, told Public Radio International.

“We just said, ‘Oh my God! Let’s try to do it,’” Reis told the outlet.

It took the team a few months to add the new design element, but once they were done, they were pleased with the results. Tânia Martins, brand manager for the 2016 Summer Games told PRI:

“We call it, ‘The sound of victory.’’”


Paralympics Coming to Rio 2016

Well, we have just been through an incredible 16 days of Olympic excitement in RIO.  I have been glue to my sofa every night watching niche sports into the early hours on BBC.  I had never shown any interest before in women’s hockey events BUT when we have a Team GB match with medals at the end of it then it takes on a whole new dimension.  I guess that is the whole point of the Olympic games – it makes us aware of sports we might never otherwise watch and so we learn and get engaged emotionally with the result.

Hopefully the Paralympics will be the same.  In London 2012 we all watched with fascination at blind football and wheelchair archery, we all discovered a whole new group of athletic heroes.  This has had a longterm effect on the disabled community.  Not just a sense of pride but an increased desire to participate and get fitter.  Not everyone can be an ‘Olympic’ athlete but all people disabled and fully able can improve their physical activity, health, flexibility and spirit of achievement.   We are worried, of course, about how the Rio Paralympic games will turn out.  There are money worries and some countries will not have the funding to travel to the games.  The Russian drugs ban will remove a large swathe of great olympic talent which will affect a whole range of sports.  Already the Brazilian organisers have warned of low ticket sales and closing venues.  This is a real pity since the Brazilian squad are rated quite highly within the Paralympic movement.

We have interviewed Michelle Weltman, events organiser the London Marathon on our upcoming podcast episode and she tells us which UK athletes we should be looking out for and cheering on from our sofas.  In 2012 Channel 4  did a great job on presenting the Paralympics, hopefully their presentation in RIO this year will be at the same level at excellence.