Paris 2024 Unravels the Olymipic and Paralympic Medals Designs

In a historic move, Paris 2024 introduces medals adorned with a highly symbolic and priceless piece of metal: the original iron from the Eiffel Tower, marking a symbolic convergence of heritage and sporting excellence.

For the first time in Olympic and Paralympic history, each medal is embedded with original iron from the Eiffel Tower, a testament to its enduring legacy since the 1889 Universal Exhibition. Constructed to astonish the world during the 1889 Universal Exhibition, the Eiffel Tower is crafted entirely from a unique form of iron known as “puddle” iron. Produced in the forges and blast furnaces of Pompey in Lorraine, this cast iron undergoes a refining process called “puddling,” which eliminates excess carbon, resulting in incredibly pure and robust iron. Throughout the 20th century, the Eiffel Tower underwent renovations, during which certain metallic elements were removed and carefully preserved. Now, for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel is granting these authentic relics of Paris and France’s history a new lease of life.

By integrating this historic metal into the medal’s design, Paris 2024 pays homage to Gustave Eiffel’s visionary spirit, reinforcing the Games’ connection to French heritage. By placing fragments of the Eiffel Tower at the centre of its medals, Paris 2024 hopes to leave athletes with an unforgettable memory of the Games, of Paris and of France.

The Eiffel Tower, the daughter of Paris and site of major world events had to be used to provide athletes with an unforgettable souvenir of Paris. With this unique metal from the Eiffel Tower, this medal has a historic character and is a nod to Pierre de Coubertin who, as a contemporary of Gustave Eiffel, was one of the last people to be able to visit the construction site of the Tower before it was opened,” said Jean-François Martins, President of the Société d’Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel.

In its commitment to strengthening the ties between sports, culture, and heritage, Paris 2024 has enlisted the expertise of renowned French jeweller Chaumet. As the first jeweller in the history of the Games to undertake this esteemed task, Chaumet, a company within the LVMH group and Premium Partner of Paris 2024, brings centuries of craftsmanship and elegance to the creation of the Olympic and Paralympic medals.

As creative partner of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Paris 2024, we wanted to involve several of our Houses in this collaboration so that they could put the excellence of their craftsmanship at the service of this exceptional global event. It’s the first time in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games that a jeweller has designed the medals. The Maison Chaumet creative team has conceived each medal as a jewel, taking inspiration from the Parisian craftsmanship of its legendary Place Vendôme workshops and illustrating the vocation shared by all the Houses in our group: the ability to make people dream. LVMH is so proud to be part of this wonderful adventure! We hope that each athlete will enjoy wearing and admiring the medal as much as we enjoyed creating it for them,” said Antoine Arnault, LVMH Image & Environment.

With a global reputation for excellence and a deep-rooted embodiment of French artistry, Chaumet is elevating the medal design by drawing inspiration from three key themes: the hexagon, radiance, and the setting.

THE HEXAGON: Crafted from the original iron of the Eiffel Tower, the medal takes the form of a hexagon, a geometric shape closely associated with France, earning it the moniker “The Hexagone.” This emblematic shape symbolizes the unified effort of an entire nation in hosting the historic Olympic and Paralympic Games. Stripped of its “Eiffel Tower brown” paint, the puddled iron has been restored to its natural colour, blending elegantly with the gold, silver, and bronze tones of the medals. Adorned with the emblem of the Olympic Games Paris 2024, this piece of heritage sits proudly at the centre, lending the medals a distinctive two-tone appearance.

RADIANCE: Adding a touch of radiance to the medals, sunbeam-like lines extend from the iron hexagon at regular intervals. These rays, struck rather than engraved, create a stunning 3D effect, symbolizing the brilliance of France during the Olympic and Paralympic Games, as well as the shining performances of the athletes that captivate the world.

THE SETTING: Combining the iconic Eiffel Tower with the Games medal, and merging iron with gold, silver, or bronze, demanded symbolic craftsmanship. As a homage to French jewellery-making, and with the creative collaboration of LVMH and Chaumet, the medal not only features the iron piece but is intricately encrusted with it. Employing a “claw setting,” a technique synonymous with the House of Chaumet’s high jewellery creations, six metal appendages are stamped onto the medal’s surface, securing the iron piece against the medal. For the Paris 2024 Games, claw settings inspired by the iconic “Clous de Paris” were chosen, reminiscent of the Eiffel Tower’s famous rivets. The slightly concave shape of the medal enhances the depth of the design on both sides, adding to its allure.

Since the bid phase, Paris 2024 has been channelling equal ambition into organizing both the Paralympic and Olympic Games. The design of the two Opening Ceremonies embodies a shared philosophy of inclusivity, extending not only within the city but also to the public. Additionally, for the 2024 Games, both the Olympic and Paralympic competitions will take place in the same venues, showcasing Paris’s most iconic monuments transformed into arenas of athletic prowess. This concerted effort to unite the Olympic and Paralympic Games is also evident in their symbols.

Olympic and Paralympic medals design © Paris 2024

While each event boasts its unique history, both the Olympic and Paralympic medals carry distinct narratives. The Olympic medal pays homage to the Games’ revival in Greece, featuring the goddess of victory, Nike, emerging from the Panathenaic Stadium, where the modern Olympics were inaugurated in 1896. The front of the Olympic medals also showcases the Acropolis. However, for Paris 2024, the Eiffel Tower is prominently displayed alongside it, symbolizing the Games’ connection to both ancient Greece and modern France. This dual representation encapsulates the essence of the Olympic movement and Paris’s upcoming edition of the Games

For its part, the front of the Paralympic medal fully illustrates the creative choices made by Paris 2024 and Chaumet. A graphic representation of a low-angle view under the Eiffel Tower will enable the medallists to discover the Dame de Fer from a hitherto little-represented angle. The words “Paris” and “2024” frame the pillars of the Tower and are written in universal Braille, a script symbolising accessibility and a reference to its French inventor, Louis Braille. To enable the three metals to be distinguished by touch, lines are engraved on the edge of the medal won: I for gold, II for silver and III for bronze.