Medals for the world’s top Paralympic athletes are usually a bit different from the Olympic ones. They have featured braille, for example, so that visually impaired winners can read what's inscribed on them.
But in Rio de Janeiro this summer, the Paralympic awards are going to be unique in the event’s history: They’re designed to be shaken by athletes, letting off tinkling sounds made by tiny metallic spheres rattling inside. There are different tones for gold, silver and bronze.
“We call it ‘The sound of victory,’” said Tânia Martins, brand manager for the 2016 Summer Games.
The audible medals are the brainchild of designer Claudia Gamboa, who had a “eureka moment” one day when the team was discussing medal improvements, according to Olympics design manager Dalcacio Reis.
“We just said, ‘Oh my God! Let’s try to do it,’” Reis said.
It took a few months, but the team finalized a design that incorporates a metallic rattle. The medals contain more little metallic balls as you rise up the podium, so that the gold is distinguishable from the silver and the bronze.
“We wanted to begin a new way to celebrate on the podium,” Reis said, as he showed off the medals and shook them. “Usually [athletes] bite the medal, and now we want that they make this movement.”
But this isn’t the sort of thing you only want to read about. You want to hear these medals in action, don’t you?
Well, here you are. PRI was the first media outlet granted access to the medals in the Olympic headquarters in Rio on Thursday. We filmed this short video for you:
OK, so there’s also this much flashier promotional video for the medals that you can check out, too.
The medals, created at Brazil’s national mint, are also made out of recycled materials.
And, yes: they do contain actual gold and silver, too.