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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

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Medals for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan American Games have been unveiled at a ceremony held at the Royal Ontario Museum in the Canadian city today.

Organisers claim the medals reflect the "rich story of the People's Games", with a layered design expressing the values of inclusion and diversity, while also encompassing the Aboriginal traditions of welcoming guests and cherishing natural world beauty.

Mark Tewksbury, who won gold for Canada at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics, hosted the ceremony and the former swimmer argued how the "Toronto 2015 medals are pieces of art in their own right and reflect all the hard work, dedication and difficult journey athletes will take to wear one around their neck and cherish for life".

The metals were sourced by the Barrick Gold Corporation before being designed and produced by the Royal Canadian Mint, who for the first time in medals history applied the ancient technique of mokume gane, the fusing of different alloys, in order to produce the medals.

They believe that the technique reflects the coming together of athletes to compete in the Games under the motto "United We Play".

Additionally braille also features on the medals to reflect Toronto 2015's commitment to diversity, which will be the first time it has featured on both the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games medals.

"Royal Canadian Mint employees have come together with pride to produce one-of-a-kind medals which truly symbolise the years of training and effort put forth by the remarkable athletes who will compete at the Toronto 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games this summer," said Sandra Hanington, President and chief executive officer of the Royal Canadian Mint.

The Pan Am Games are set to take place from July 10 to 26, with the Parapan Am Games due to follow from August 7 to 15, with 4,283 medals in total up for grabs across the competitions.

"When an athlete has a medal hung around their neck, it is a beginning not the end," added Elisabeth Walker-Young, Team Canada's Chef de Mission for the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.

"The medals that are given out at the Games will hold pride of place in homes, hearts and memories throughout the Americans for decades to come.

"Through the design of the medal, the unity and joy of the Games live on."

With the countdown continuing until the Games, the competition medals will be on temporary exhibition at the Royal Ontario museum from March 14 to 29 and will be available for public viewing at the Royal Canadian Mint pavilion at CIBC Pan Am Park, during the Games.

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