29 June 2013, 16:41

Sochi Olympics medals go into production

Sochi Olympics medals go into production

An Olympic medal means the winner’s triumph, the nation’s pride and athlete’s happiness. The world’s top sports award is designed for each Olympic Games and invariably comes as a surprise to stadium audiences. The Sochi-2014 medals stand every chance of becoming the most distinctive in the history of the modern Olympics. The Voice of Russia correspondent has visited the production facility of the awards. (PHOTO)

Two tons of finest silver, 700 kilos of bronze and six kilos of gold will be used to make the Sochi-2014 Winter Olympics awards. The figures are mind-boggling, and with good reason, since the Russian Olympic medals will prove the biggest size-wise and produced in a record number. – The more than 8,000 athletes will contend for 1,300 medal sets.

The Sochi-2014 Olympic medals have gone into production at a Moscow jewellery factory. The production process starts with a small silver or bronze blank, the size of a glazed tile.

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

The blank is first placed in a special-purpose heating furnace for two hours at a temperature of 180 degrees Celsius, to get rid of internal stress in the wake of casting and rolling.

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

The blank will next go to a lathe for lathing and turning into a disk, - the prototype of an Olympic medal.

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

Two working apertures are then made in the blank, after which operation it goes to a milling machine to get the proper head side, the reverse and the edge.

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

Now is the time for a wire-cutting machine. A thinnest thread of extra strong metal will cut a window in the blank, to place the medal crystal into it.

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

Next the medal is through several stages of grinding and polishing, and finally the crystal is fitted into it.

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

Crystals are made of polycarbonate, since metal and gold are incompatibles, according to technologists; hence the need for a synthetic material, to implement the unusual Olympic medal design.

An electronically-controlled lathing machine cuts several blanks out of a one-piece plate.

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

The blanks are then carefully ground. A laser beam is used to make an unusual drawing on them, the drawing known as a “Sochi quilt”, combining Russia’s national drawings. Experts will then check the medal for defects.

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

Now is the time for the crystal to be embedded into the medal. To achieve this, the medal and the crystal are placed in a freezing chamber to be chilled down to low temperatures. They will then get somewhat contracted, and that’s when the crystal is carefully inserted into the medal window and left at room temperature. As the metal expands, it will clasp the polycarbonate from all sides and will hold it firmly in position.

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

The Olympic medal is ready!

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia"

 Photo "The Voice of Russia"

© Photo "The Voice of Russia" 

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