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Oregon 22 World Athletics Championships: what are the medals made of and who designed them?

The organisers of the World Athletics Championships worked with two Oregon-based companies to produce the medals handed out at the event.

The organisers of the World Athletics Championships worked with two Oregon-based companies to produce the medals handed out at the event.

Created by two local companies, the medals presented at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, are made of the ultra-durable material Corian, and have been inlaid with either gold, silver or bronze.

AHM Brands and Steelab, firms based in Eugene and Portland, respectively, worked with the Championships’ organising committee to create the medals, whose design draws heavily on characteristics of Oregon.

The front of the medal depicts the cross-section of a tree, with the seven rings representing the seven regions in the US state. The texture is even made to feel like bark. On the back, the medal features one of seven landscapes, each of which has been taken from a region in Oregon.

What is Corian?

Created by the US chemicals company DuPont in the late 1960s, Corian is a solid, heat and stain-resistant material used chiefly for countertops and furniture. It is manufactured using acrylic polymer - a transparent plastic material known for its strength - and alumina trihydrate, which is derived from bauxite ore, a key component of aluminium.

While strong and durable, Corian can be easily cut and moulded, and allows for the high-precision engraving of intricate designs.

Medal design “just not possible” without Corian

The use of Corian enables the finely detailed carving of intricate relief work featured in the designs - something just not possible using conventional medal techniques,” the Oregon 22 organisers said in a statement.

“It was imperative that our medals were true to the unique, unmissable, unconventional nature of the first World Athletics Championships on US soil,” Oregon 22 executive director Niels de Vos said.

“Months of cutting-edge creative thought and experimentation into the latest manufacturing techniques went into the medals, designed and fabricated right here in Oregon. The medals are won by athletes as the result of a lifetime of dedication and commitment. They are the best in the world, and our team wanted to ensure a medal which reflected that status.”

Instant medal presentations

In a departure from athletics championships convention, the top three finishers in each event will be given their medals immediately after finals have been contested.

“By including the medals in the initial emotional aftermath of their medal-winning performance, athletes will be able to experience their triumph more fully, feeling the weight of their accomplishment around their necks right after earning it and proudly displaying their victory during a lap of honor and in post-event media interviews,” the organising committee said.

After speaking to the media, athletes will then hand back their medals to allow them to be engraved, before receiving them for a second time in a traditional medal ceremony.

Oregon 22: dates, how to watch

Held at the University of Oregon’s Hayward Field, the 2022 World Athletics Championships got underway on Friday, and are to run until Saturday 24 July. In the US, Oregon 22 is to be broadcast by USA Network, NBC and CNBC. For more information on how you can tune in to the Championships, check out our how-to-watch guide.


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