sochi 2014 olympic medals to include a piece of russian meteorite
image © sergei karpukhin / reuters
in the sochi 2014 winter olympics, a few athletes will be competing for an especially rare prize: ‘cosmic medals’ embedded with fragments of the superbolide meteor that exploded over chelyabinsk in 2013.
the special meteorite medals will be awarded to the seven athletes who win gold on february 15th, the one-year anniversary of the meteor’s fall. the olympic events for that day are set to include the men’s 1500-meter speed skating, women’s 1000-meter and men’s 1500m short track, the women’s cross-country skiing relay, the men’s K-125 ski jump, the women’s super giant slalom, and the men’s skeleton.
‘we will hand out our medals to all the athletes who will win gold on that day, because both the meteorite strike and the olympic games are the global events,‘ chelyabinsk region culture minister alexei betekhtin stated.
view of the front (left) and back (right) of the sochi 2014 winter olympic medal design
image © sochi 2014
the medal design, sans space rock, was unveiled earlier this year. they feature sochi 2014’s ‘patchwork quilt’, a mosaic of designs highlighting the cultures within the russian federation, inset beneath a gold, silver, or bronze casing. the official name of the games is engraved in russian, english, and french along the rim, while the front highlights the olympic rings; the name of the event is engraved on the reverse.
production has already begun by craftsmen since a record 1300 medals are expected to be manufactured for the sochi 2014 olympic games.
on february 15th, 2013, a meteorite exploded over chelyabinsk, causing damage and injuring 1500 but causing no reported deaths. it is the largest known natural object to enter earth’s atmosphere since the 1908 tunguska event destroyed a siberian forest.
image © marat ahmetvaleev