The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Medals Are Actually Made Of Recycled Mobile Phones And PCs

Metallurgy or medallurgy?

Back in April 2017, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic committee launched a two-year campaign to members of the Japanese public in order to harvest precious metals from donated pre-loved devices. To this date, the campaign has received over 70 thousand tons of donated devices, including 6.21 million mobile phones which saw an extraction of 32kg of gold, 3,500kg of silver, and 2,200kg of bronze. As you can guess from where this is going, the harvested precious metals would now become the actual medals awarded to the winning participants of next year’s Olympic games held in Tokyo, Japan.


The recently revealed medal designs were designed by 51-year-old Junichi Kawanishi from Osaka, who won the competition organised by the Olympic committee that drew entries from over 400 professional designers and design students all across Japan. The competition required participants to incorporate three themes into their designs which includes “light and brilliance”, “energy of the athletes”, and “diversity and harmony”. Aside from the themes, the medal design should include the iconic Olympic five rings logo, the official names of the games, and a representation of Nike (not that one), the Greek goddess of victory as mandated by the Olympics Immediate or Cancel (IOC) regulations.

The gold medals use more than 6g of gold plating on pure silver, while the silver medals are made from (surprise) pure silver, and the bronze medals consists of red brass alloy made up of 95% copper and 5% zinc. For all we know, our future Malaysian Olympic gold medallist might be wearing what used to be a part of a few billion iPhones around their neck.