Tokyo 2020 today invited the Japanese population to give to the organising committee its discarded or obsolete electronic devices in order to use the metal in the production of the medals that will be awarded to athletes at the Games.
This project highlights Tokyo 2020's commitments to engage the whole Japanese nation and to offer to everyone the opportunity to play a role in the Games' preparations. It also responds directly to Recommendation 4 of Olympic Agenda 2020 that states sustainability be integrated into all aspects of the planning and execution of the Games.
The organising committee aims to collect as much as eight tons of metal (gold: 40 kg, silver: 4920 kg, bronze: 2944 kg), which after the production process will result in two tons, an amount needed to produce 5,000 Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic medals.
Two partner companies were appointed at a Tokyo 2020 executive board meeting earlier today, NTT DOCOMO and Japan Environmental Sanitation Center (JESC). From April, collection boxes will be installed in more than 2,400 NTT DOCOMO stores and an undecided number of public offices throughout the country. The collection will end when the 8-ton target is reached.
Further details on the collection strategy will be announced in due course.
Comment from US Decathlete Ashton Eaton, two-time Olympic gold medallist and world record holder:
An Olympic medal is one of the most coveted items in existence. People spend decades, often agonizing ones, working to obtain one. The life stories of so many are deﬁned by the pursuit of these metal medallions, and those same stories are what inspire and bring millions of us together.
And now, thanks to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Medal Project not only do the athletes inspire with their stories, but each medal itself has a story of its own! The best part is that each citizen has a chance to contribute to the story, to raise awareness about a sustainable future and to make a unique contribution. And, most excitingly, they have a chance to be part of the Olympic journey.
The weight of a medal around your neck is always a good weight. And when an athlete at Tokyo wins a medal, the weight of it will not be from the gold, silver, or bronze; it will be the weight of a nation. The awesomeness of this project makes me want to come out of retirement and compete for one.
I have always been a fan of people who do things differently; of those who try to move the needle in a positive way. I am a fan of Tokyo 2020.
Comment from Japan's gymnast Kohei Uchimura, three-time Olympic gold medallist:
Computers and smart phones have become useful tools. However, I think it is mottainai [or wasteful] to discard devices every time there is a technological advance and new models appear.
In the field of sport, gymnastics techniques too have evolved as a result of the efforts made by athletes in the past.
Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic medals will be made out of people's thoughts and appreciation for avoiding waste. I think there is an important message in this for future generations.
Comment from Japan's wheelchair rugby player Daisuke Ikezaki, Paralympic bronze medallist:
Paralympic Athletes work hard every day to reach the Podium. We were able to win our medals with the help and support of numerous people.
I believe our medals nurture hope and dreams in people and in the future of the Paralympic sport.
I think Tokyo 2020 Medal Project is an amazing initiative, which engages all of Japan in making Olympic and Paralympic medals. It also inspires athletes to work even harder for winning one.