The 2010 Winter Olympic medals were unveiled yesterday. They're quite strange and unique, but much to my surprise, I like them. One interesting fact is that they're partially supplemented with trace amounts of gold, silver and copper reclaimed from discarded electronics -- gold 1.52 percent, silver 0.122 percent and copper 1.1 percent -- the practice is an Olympic first. The thing I like best about them is the art work, they feature the Orca whale and were designed by artist Corrine Hunt, a First Nations Artist. According to the Vancouver Olympics website, The orca, designed across four panels in the style of a traditional West Coast First Nations bentwood box, is often associated with the attributes of strength, dignity and teamwork. The sleek and powerful black and white whales are common to the waters off Canada’s West Coast but are also found in all the world’s oceans. The medals for the Paralympic Games will feature the Raven.
I have always been very partial to Orcas, and when I was growing up on Vancouver Island my father used to take us "whale watching" off the coast of Tofino, where we would watch the pods of Orcas swim close to shore. My father loved Aboriginal art, and he did a painting of the Orca and the Raven, which I now have in my house, and is one of my treasures. My parents had a wonderful First Nations art collection of baskets, totem poles and paintings which they donated to the museum in Port Alberni, but I still have some of the baskets and paintings. So, I think my Dad would approve of the medals as well. All we need now is for some of our Canadian athletes to win a few -- gold would be nice.
And while they're at it, perhaps this will be the season a Canadian team will bring home the Stanley Cup.