Medallists will stand on 'green' podiums

The medals and tray to be used for the medal ceremonies at Tokyo 2020 are seen at an event to mark 50 days to the opening ceremony. The tray is produced using recyclable thermoplastic polymer.
The medals and tray to be used for the medal ceremonies at Tokyo 2020 are seen at an event to mark 50 days to the opening ceremony. The tray is produced using recyclable thermoplastic polymer.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

TOKYO • Despite the lingering uncertainty surrounding the Tokyo 2020 Olympics due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisers marked 50 days to the July 23 opening ceremony yesterday by revealing details of the medal ceremonies, including podiums made with recycled plastic.

They also released the victory music for the gold medallists.

"We have 50 days left. I feel like I can hear the sound of the athletes' footsteps heading to Tokyo," organising committee president Seiko Hashimoto said at the ceremony in the Ariake arena, a Games venue.

"We're fully ready and prepared with infection prevention measures, so please feel safe and reassured coming to Japan."

The Ariake arena, which will play host to the volleyball and wheelchair basketball events this summer, provided the backdrop to the ceremony which was streamed live to a global audience.

"At the Tokyo 2020 Games, there will be a total of 878 victory ceremonies - 339 during the Olympic Games and 539 during the Paralympic Games," Ms Hashimoto added. "I hope, when the athletes are on top of the podiums, and with the whole world watching, that in these moments we can truly appreciate the value of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in this era."

For the very first time in the Olympics and the Paralympics, podiums to be used have been created using recycled household plastic waste, which are "donated by the people across Japan to illustrate how a sustainable society can be realised", according to a report on the Olympic website.

The article added that over the course of nine months, "24.5 tonnes of recycled plastic - the equivalent of 400,000 bottles of laundry detergent - were collected to create the 98 podiums used during the Games".

The symbols which are embedded in the podiums are also made from waste, created using recycled aluminium.

"I am so proud of the design and its concept, rooted in the word 'connect'," said designer Asao Tokolo, who also designed the Tokyo 2020 emblem. "I hope this project serves as a baton that runs towards the future."

The costumes to be worn by volunteers at victory ceremonies are also made from environmentally friendly recycled fibres, while the trays on which the medals will sit are produced using recyclable thermoplastic polymer.

The music for the ceremonies, which is composed by Naoki Sato, one of Japan's leading composers, will have a "strong melody and soaring chorus".

He said the music is designed "to accompany the moment when people around the world unite in praise and celebration of the athletes on the podium".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 04, 2021, with the headline 'Medallists will stand on 'green' podiums'. Subscribe