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It took eight tons of gold, silver and copper to make the 4,700 medals to be awarded at the London Olympic and Paralympic games, the heaviest and most expensive medals ever produced for a summer games.
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The London 2012 Olympic medals as they appear in a handout obtained from the London 2012 organising committee (LOCOG). AFP
London Olympic medals: heaviest, most expensive
The 4,700 medals to be awarded at the London Olympic and Paralympic games are under lock and key in the Tower of London.
They are being guarded around the clock alongside Britain's crown jewels.
"For centuries the Tower of London has protected some of this country's greatest treasures so there can be no better sanctuary for the 2012 medals – the most precious possession any athlete could hope to possess," said London Mayor Boris Johnson.
It took eight tons of gold, silver and copper unearthed from mines in Mongolia and Utah to make them.
With the recent gold and silver booms that have seen prices double since the 2008 Games in Beijing, they are the most expensive medals in Olympic history.
At 85 millimetres in diameter and seven millimetres thick they are also the heaviest ever struck for the Summer Olympics. In Beijing, the medals were around half as heavy at 200 grams.
The precious gold medal is far from being solid gold, however. Weighing about 410 grams it contains only six grams of gold – 1.34 percent of its weight – the remainder being silver compound (92.5 percent) and copper.
British artist David Watkins designed the medals, which depict Nike, the Greek goddess of victory.
The reverse bears the London Games logo in front of a radiating star motif, representing the spirit and tradition of the Olympics, and the River Thames, for the city of London.
"If there's the slightest blemish, we reject them," said Fergus Feeney, programme director at the 1,000-year-old Royal Mint, which produces Britain's currency and made the Olympic medals.
The coveted discs were each processed 15 times in a huge hydraulic press known as the Colossus.
Adapted from an AFP story in today’s Bangkok Post.
handout – a free document that gives information about an event or a matter of public interest ใบปลิว
obtain – to get something that you want or need ได้มา, ได้รับ
committee – a group of people who are chosen, usually by a larger group, to make decisions or to deal with a particular subject คณะกรรมการ
award – to give something to somebody as a prize, payment, etc มอบให้
under lock and key – locked up safely somewhere ถูกล็อคอย่างปลอดภัย
guard – to watch a place carefully to protect someone from attack, to prevent something from being stolen, or to prevent someone from escaping เฝ้ายาม, ดูแล, รักษาความปลอดภัย
around the clock – throughout the whole day and night; 24 hours ทั้งวันทั้งคืน
crown jewels – the crown (มงกุฎ) and other objects worn or carried by a king or queen on formal occasions
century – a period of one hundred years ศตวรรษ
protect – to make sure that somebody/something is not harmed, injured, damaged, etc ป้องกัน,อารักขา,คุ้มกัน
treasure – a collection of very valuable things ของมีค่า, เพชรพลอย, ของสูงค่า
sanctuary – a safe, protected place สถานที่ด้รับการปกป้อง, สถานที่ปลอดภัย
precious – of great value because of being rare, expensive or important มีค่า,ล้ำค่า
possession – something owned ทรัพย์สมบัติ
athlete – someone who is good at sports and takes part in sports competitions นักกีฬา
mayor – the most important elected official in a town or city นายกเทศมนตรี
unearth – to find something that is buried in the ground ขุดขึ้นมา
mine – a deep hole or holes under the ground where minerals such as coal, gold, etc. are dug เหมืองแร่
boom – a sudden increase in trade and economic activity; a period of wealth and success ความเจริญรุ่งเรืองทางเศรษฐกิจ
double – to become twice as big, twice as much or twice as many เพิ่มเป็นสองเท่า
diameter – the length of a straight line that crosses a circle through the centre เส้นผ่านศูนย์กลาง
thick – having a larger distance between opposite sides or surfaces than other similar objects or than normal หนา
strike – to make a set of medals
solid – having no holes or spaces inside; not hollow; hard or firm; not in the form of a liquid or gas แข็ง, ของแข็ง
remainder – the part of something that is left after that rest have been considered, left, finished, etc. ส่วนที่เหลืออยู่
compound – a substance formed by a chemical reaction of two or more elements in fixed amounts relative to each other สารประกอบ, สิ่งที่เกิดจากส่วนประกอบสองส่วนขึ้นไป
depict – to represent or show something in a picture or story พรรณนา, บรรยายให้เห็นภาพ
goddess – a female god ทพธิดา
victory – winning a competition or a battle ชัยชนะ
reverse – the back of a medal, coin, piece of material, piece of paper, etc ด้านตรงกันข้าม
bear – to show something; to carry something so that it can be seen แสดง
radiate – to spread out in all directions from a central point กระจายออกจากจุดศูนย์กลาง
motif – a shape or pattern that is repeated in a design or decoration; an idea, subject or pattern that is frequently repeated แม่ลาย
spirit – mood, feelings อารมณ์
tradition – a very old custom, belief, or story ประเพณี, ขนบธรรมเนียม
blemish – a mark on the skin or on an object that spoils it and makes it look less beautiful or perfect รอย, มลทิน, ความมัวหมอง
reject – to not accept something ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ
mint – a place where money is made โรงกษาปณ์, โรงผลิตเหรียญกษาปณ์
currency – the system of money that a country uses เงินตรา
coveted – wanted very much; that everyone would like to win ที่ใครอยากได้
disc – a thin flat round object, in this case, a medal สิ่งของที่มีลักษณะกลมแบน
processed – treated in some way, e.g., treated with chemicals, cut, etc.
hydraulic – using the pressure of water or oil to make something work ซึ่งใช้น้ำในการขับเคลื่อน
press – a piece of equipment that is used for creating pressure on things, to make them flat or to get liquid from them แท่นอัด
Colossus – an extremely large statue; a person or thing that is extremely important or large in size อนุสาวรีย์ขนาดใหญ่, สิ่งที่ใหญ่โตหรือมีอำนาจมาก