Pan Am Games Medals Have Indigenous Flair, Thanks to Christi Belcourt


The medals for the Pan Am Games, currently in full swing and running through July 26, were designed by Metis artist Christi Belcourt. According to the Metis Nation website,

The artwork on the medals tells the rich story of the “People’s Games” through a beautifully layered design that expresses the values of inclusion and diversity, and highlights Aboriginal traditions of welcoming guests and cherishing the beauty of the natural world.

Some 4,200 medals of gold, silver and bronze were cast by the Royal Canadian Mint, and will be distributed to winners at the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games (which take place August 7-14).

"It's a great honor to do such an important job," Belcourt told the CBC. "I mean it's so important for, for the athletes mainly, when they get those medals, they feel really proud of their accomplishment and they have something that they can carry home with them. ... I was trying to think about what was it that linked all the athletes together and all the countries together and really what it is that links us all together is land and water and the environment."

The diameter of the medals is about that of a softball, and they are said to weigh 350 grams, or about as much as a can of soup. The back of the medals features the text "Toronto 2015" (the location of the Pan Am Games) in English, French, Spanish and Braille. Pan Am Games participants represent nations in South America, Central America, the Caribbean, and North America.

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