Medals “sing” songs of triumph

Specially designed medals for the 2016 Rio Paralympics make a sound when shaken to symbolize whether they are gold, silver, or bronze
shaking medals Give 'em a shake! This year's Rio Paralympic medals are some of the most unique ever made. (Screenshot courtesy YouTube/ODN)

The Paralympics Games are underway in Rio, and already over 400 medals have been awarded after 4 days of competition. A Paralympic medal is special enough on its own—these are the highest athletic awards on the planet in these events. But these particular medals? They are truly a cut above. Or rather, a tone above.

The organizers at these games really went further in making their awards something that even athletes with visual impairments could enjoy and experience fully. For starters, each medal has "Rio 2016 Paralympic Games" written on them in Braille (this is the language that is read by running your fingers over a series of raised, patterned dots). But that's not the best part. When you shake the medal, they create a rattling tone, which tells you whether it's gold, silver, or bronze.

All that rattles is gold

To make the sounds, the designers stuck tiny steel balls inside. The bronze medal has 16 balls, silver has 20, and gold has 28. The more balls inside, the louder the sound. Tânia Martins, who works for the branding of the Games, says that they call it "The sound of victory". We call it a simple, but really brilliant idea.

The medals also have the name of the event won engraved by laser on the edge. To top it all off they are given out inside a Curupixá wood case. This wood is significant as it is native to Brazil—another symbol of the host country. All in all, you have to salute the thought put into these medals. When you consider the efforts of the athletes involved, it's a terrific way to honour all of their hard work.

Shake it away, Rio! (And check the medals out for yourself below...)

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