Among the most important events and milestones of all Olympic and Paralympic games, we can highlight the medal design, a symbol that is eagerly sought by all athletes. Each launch has a background history and development work. Let’s know more about this great sport event, while we wait to live it in Santiago 2023.


Each edition of the Games has a different medal, and its design is eagerly expected by both athletes and spectators. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Medal design reflects the concept of each athlete’s fight as something basic to achieve glory. Also, each medal reminds stones that, once polished, shine with “light” and “glow”.

Medals receive and reflect several light patterns, that symbolize the energy of athletes and those who support them.


The intention of this design is to also represent the diversity and a world where people that compete in sports, working hard, receive honors. The medals’ glow means the warm friendship shine symbolized by all people around the world, shaking hands.

With the goal to create a range of designs to choose from, Tokyo 2020 organized an open contest to professional designers and design students that gathered over 400 participants, and the name of the winner is Junichi Kawanishi.

Did you know that each medal has to include in its front the following elements?

- Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, in front of the Panathinaikos stadium.
- The official name of that Games’ edition, in this case, Tokyo 2020 Games of the XXXII Olympiad.
- The Olympic symbol of the five rings.

The tape of the medals also has its logic and design behind it, in this case Tokyo 2020 is designed to be a reflection of Japan itself, and the way the country shows its “Unity in Diversity”. The design also promotes the vision of Tokyo 2020 brand of “Harmony innovation”.


On the other side, the design of the Paralympic Games medals created by designer Sakiko Matsumoto, we find a motif inspired by the traditional Japanese fans, that portrays the Games as the source of a new fresh wind that refreshes the world, as well as a shared experience that connects hearts and minds.

The “kaname”, or vital points, holds together all the parts of the fan. Here it represents the Para athletes that gather people independently from their nationality or origin.

The motifs in the fan’s leaves represent the hearts of people and symbolize the natural captivating lively environment of Japan in the shape of rocks, flowers, wood, leaves and water. The surface is created with slight differences in thickness and each natural element is represented with several treatments, which gives it a unique sensation to touch.

According to the regulations of the International Paralympic Committee, the medals will include “Tokyo 2020” in Braille in the front of the medal. Also, a series of circular indentations on the side of the medals (one for gold, two for silver, three for bronze) that makes it so the types of medals are easily distinguished by touch: it is the first time in the Paralympian history that this disposition has been done for visual impaired athletes.

The tape will use the motifs of the traditional Japanese designs that can be found in “ichimatsu moyo” (harmonized square patterns) and the “kasane no irome” (stratification techniques in the traditional kimono) in a modern presentation.

Now that you already know the history of the Tokyo 2020 medals, all that is left to know is the ones that the Santiago 2023 Games will present.  

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