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24 Jul 2012

History of the Olympic medals

The British origin of the Olympics and Paralympics

Until September 9th, the British Museum will host a display that tells the story of the production of the medals for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, from the mining of the metal by Rio Tinto to the creation of the designs by David Watkins and Lin Cheung and production by the Royal Mint. Aside from the medals, 19th and 20th century objects are also displayed, highlighting the longstanding links between Britain and the Olympic and Paralympic movements. To bring to life the modern games, Pierre de Coubertin drew inspiration from the Olympian Games, which first took place in the Shropshire town of Much Wenlock in 1850, and which he attended in 1890, six years before Athens 1896. The Paralympic Games derive from Games held in 1948 at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Buckinghamshire, for people injured in the Second World War. The mascots of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games are named Wenlock and Mandeville in recognition of these two historic events.