Olympic Design: Canada’s Medals

SI.com has enlisted the help of the bloggers behind Canadian Design Resource to author a series of posts on the design spirit of their country’s three Olympic Games: Montreal 1976, Calgary 1988, and Vancouver 2010. Today, CDR’s Michael Erdmann takes a look at Canada’s Olympic medals:

Montreal 1976 Olympic Medal
Graphics and Design Directorate, COJO 76

Montreal Medals

(COJO '76)

The face of Montreal’s Olympic medals features a design by Florentine artist Giuseppe Cassioli. Created for the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, the design was used on all Summer Olympic medals until 2004. The reverse shows the 1976 Olympic logo and the victor’s laurel wreath (a symbol of the ancient Games) rendered in the bold, uncluttered style of the Montreal Games.

Calgary 1988 Olympic Medal

Calgary Medals


Winter Olympic medals have always been more varied in design than their summer counterparts. The face of Calgary’s Olympic medal features a Plains Indian wearing a headdress composed of winter sports equipment, including skis, sleds and even a rifle.

Vancouver 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Medals
Omer Arbel & Corrine Hunt, VANOC, 2009

Vancouver Medals


Vancouver is the first Canadian city to host both the Olympic and the Paralympic Games (the Calgary Olympics were the last time that the events were held in different countries). By now, the round Olympic medals probably look familiar. Their square counterparts are the 2010 Paralympic medals. Both styles are among the heaviest in Olympic history and, more significantly, they’re the first to feature unique designs for the gold, silver and bronze.

Vancouver Industrial Designer Omer Arbel created their undulating form to evoke British Columbia’s mountains, ocean and snow. These waves serve as a canvas for graphic elements designed by First Nations artist Corrine Hunt. Hunt created two large master artworks (a raven and an orca), elements of which are cropped and laser etched onto the medal’s face. Each medal includes a different piece of the overall design.

(Coming up tomorrow from Canadian Design Resource: A look at the official stadiums of Canada’s Olympic Games. Yesterday, they covered Canada’s torches and cauldrons.)

  • Published On Feb. 18, 2010 by lukewinn
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    1. [...] Hunt introduces a unique design to Olympic medals Posted February 19, 2010 By móniyáw This page shows a number of different Olympic medals used in previous games in 1976, 1988, and finally [...]

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