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Olympics: 'Diversity,' 'harmony' key concepts, says medal designer

Junichi Kawanishi, center, who designed the medals for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, poses for a photo in Tokyo on July 25, 2019. (Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The designer of the medals that will be presented to the winners at next year's Tokyo Olympics said Thursday that he aimed to convey the concepts of "diversity" and "harmony."

"I expressed the athletes' energy, my hopes for them to shine, and diversity and harmony," Junichi Kawanishi, 51, told a press conference a day after the organizers unveiled the gold, silver and bronze medals during One Year to Go ceremony.

His designs were picked in July last year in a competition that attracted more than 400 entries. "My mind went blank," Kawanishi said, recalling the excitement he felt when he received a phone call notifying him that he had won.

"I am very honored and delighted (to have been selected)," he said.

The front of each medal continues the tradition of depicting Nike, the mythical Greek goddess of victory, as required by the International Olympic Committee. On the back, the medals bear the Olympic rings and Tokyo 2020 logo inside a three-dimensional swirl shape.

Kawanishi said he had difficulty perfecting the swirl but received help from the Japan Mint, which will produce the medals.

The gold medals use about 6 grams of gold plating on pure silver, the silver medals are pure silver, while the bronze medals are made from gunmetal, a corrosion-resistant form of bronze containing zinc.

Around 5,000 medals are being produced using recycled materials taken from used mobile phones and other electronic devices donated by the public during a two-year nationwide campaign from April 2017.

The organizers said they will aim to complete production by May 2020.

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