When all is said and done, finishing on the podium is what matters most, and reigning European marathon champion Viktor Röthlin was the first to lay his eyes on the precious medals for the upcoming European Athletics Championships in Zurich this summer.
Röthlin already has a full set of medals in his cabinet, all of them tokens of his impressive athletics career: He won gold at the 2010 European Athletics Championships in Zurich, silver at the 2006 European Athletics Championships in Gothenburg, and bronze at the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka.
“My running took me to three championship podiums. I feel no pressure whatsoever when thinking about potential medals,” explained the Swiss marathoner when speaking about his goals for the last marathon race of his career, which will take place on the last day of competition.
“I will definitely try my best to win one more in Zurich on 17 August, but whatever the outcome of the race; whether or not I will take home another medal, the championships will mark the end of a wonderful and very successful time.”
Röthlin was the very first athlete to get a glimpse of the medals which will be awarded at the championships. He visited Swiss-based firm Faude & Huguenin SA in Le Locle to have a look at the precious objects.
“I feel honoured to have seen the first Zurich 2014 medals. They look like superb pieces of jewellery, befitting the occasion. And it was fascinating to see how much work goes behind making each medal.”
The Zurich 2014 medals have been created by Alfredo Häberli. The Zurich-based industrial designer has won many awards and is widely known for his simple, minimalistic designs for everyday objects.
“When I was asked to create medals for Zürich 2014, I immediately decided to go for an unusual design,” he explained.
“I started looking for a subject that incorporates both the host city and the championships. Letzigrund Stadium with its simple architecture and its characteristic light posts was a perfect source of inspiration.”
His approach has led to a brilliantly simple, modern result. The asymmetric shape of the medals depicts the contours of the legendary athletics arena.
Now, 79 gold, silver, and bronze medals are being produced on the basis of his draft. Faude & Huguenin SA has been operating since 1868, and to this date, all products are handcrafted in Le Locle.
“The medals for the championships will all be made here. The process involves many working stages and each medal will pass through many hands before it’s finished,” said the manufactory’s CEO Christian Fontana.
Crafting all 237 medals will take weeks. However, each medal will be given its final touch only minutes before they are put around the best competitors’ necks. Once the final results of an event are known the medals will then be engraved with the names of the future owners, their position, the event they competed in and their performance.
To find out more about how the Zurich European Athletics Championships medals are produced, click here