Lord Sebastian Coe, right, greets Jan du Pelessi, chairman of Rio Tinto, the official metal supplier of the London 2012 games, for storage in the vaults at the Tower. Sean Dempsey/PA Wire/Press Association Images

London 2012: Olympic medals locked away in Tower

If Katie, Derval and the rest of the Irish want a medal, they’ll have to do it the slightly harder way. Because they’re in with the crown jewels now.

THE 4,700 OLYMPIC  medals have been tucked away safely in the Tower of London ahead of the opening ceremony on 27 July.

Chairman of London 2012, Sebastian Coe, was on hand to help deliver the Olympic and Paralympic medals, where they’ll sit for the next three weeks alongside the Crown Jewels.

“We’re delighted, 4,700 medals are now sitting in one of the most iconic and safest landmarks anywhere in the world,” Coe said.

“The Tower of London sits within the boundaries of one of the host boroughs and it’s important that those medals are safe guarded, protected, cherished, because that’s exactly what the athletes will want from them.

“These aren’t medals that are just sort of worn for a few days and then stuck in a sock drawer somewhere, these are displayed with pride, they go down through generations, they inspire people around the world to take up sport.”

The first competitors to be awarded medals will be in the air rifle shooting event the day after the opening ceremony. Joining Coe at the ceremony was Jan du Plessis — chairman of mining company Rio Tinto — who made the medals.

“It’s wonderful to see that we’ve managed to bring eight tonnes of metals from the mountains of Utah and the desert of Mongolia, and to see them transformed into these wonderful, gleaming, beautiful Olympic medals, so it’s a great day for us,” du Plessis said.

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