Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, joined Olympic champions Yang Yang and Zhang Yufei in unveiling the Olympic medals at a ceremony in Beijing.
Named "Tongxin", meaning "Together as one", the medals feature five concentric rings embodying the traditional Chinese philosophy of harmony between heaven, earth and human beings. The rings also symbolize the Olympic rings, carved in the inner circle, and the Olympic spirit uniting the world through sport.
The surrounding grooved rings are engraved with the Games' official title, "XXIV Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022," along with cloud and snowflake patterns, with the outer ring free of decoration.
The reverse side has the Beijing 2022 emblem at its heart, with the official name of the Games carved in Chinese below. The surrounding rings mimic star trails, with 24 dots representing the 24th edition of the Olympic Winter Games. The general picture, which resembles a celestial map, carries the wish that athletes achieve excellence and shine like stars at the Games.
The 2022 Paralympic medals, which were unveiled by Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, Paralympic champions Hou Bin and Rong Jing, share similar concentric-ring designs as the Olympic medals, but with the Paralympic logo in the center and "Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games" engraved below. The words gold, silver or bronze are also inscribed in braille for the respective medals.
The emblem of the Paralympic Winter Games and 13 dots, referring to the 13th edition of the Paralympics, feature on the reverse side.
"The medals' design is an ode to the Olympic spirit that represents the top honor for athletes. Unveiling the design at the 100-day countdown, Beijing is voicing its readiness to welcome the world's best winter sports athletes to reach for the stars at the Olympic Winter Games," said Gao Tian, vice director of BOCOG's culture and ceremonies department.
The medal design was inspired from a piece of Chinese jadeware called "Bi", a double jade disc with a circular hole in the center. Just as jade is thought of as an auspicious and invaluable ornament in traditional Chinese culture, the medal is a testimony of honor and unceasing efforts by the athletes.
It is also a tribute to the medal design of the Beijing 2008 Summer Games, as explained by chief designer Hang Hai, who was also part of the team behind the unique 2008 Olympics medal design 13 years ago.
"The medal carries on the concept of jade from the 2008 Games, which underlines Beijing as the first city to host both summer and winter Olympics. At the same time, concentric circles have an air of togetherness, which signifies people around the world gathering to enjoy the happiness brought about by the Olympic Games with understanding between each other," said Hang.
"When athletes hold the medals in their hands, they will first touch the details of Chinese culture. Then if they look closely, they will see the cloud and snowflake patterns on the obverse side, and the celestial ones on the reverse side," Hang noted.
The medals will be attached to a silk ribbon, woven with snowflake patterns, and decorated with the Olympic rings and the name and the core graphics of the Games. Its red color is the most representative one for the Chinese New Year, as the Games will open on the fourth day of the traditional holiday.
The medal box features blue lacquer and uses bamboo as the main material. It captures a combination of Chinese style and sustainability as lacquerware were ritual objects during the Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD) and bamboo, a highly sustainable plant, embodies nobility and integrity in Chinese culture.
The Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games will take place from February 4 to 20, followed by the Paralympic Games.