London 2012: Olympic medals locked in Tower

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A Yeoman Warder at the Tower of London with an Olympic medal
Image caption,
The Tower's Yeomen Warders, known as Beefeaters, will keep a watchful eye on the medals

The London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic medals are being locked in the Tower of London vaults on Monday evening, ready for the Games, which open on 27 July.

The 4,700 gold, silver and bronze medals, made at the Royal Mint in Llantrisant , near Cardiff, will be kept at the London landmark until needed.

They will be awarded in 805 victory ceremonies, taking place from 28 July.

At the tower, Rio Tinto, the mining company which has produced the metals for the medals, will hand them over to London organising committee chairman Lord Coe and they will be taken down to the vaults.

Eight tonnes of gold, silver and copper has been taken from mines in Salt Lake City in the US and in Mongolia.

The Olympic medal has a design featuring the Greek goddess of victory, Nike on the front, stepping out of the Panathenaic stadium.

On the back, the River Thames, under the London 2012 logo, is intersected by shards.

The Paralympic medal has a section of one of Nike's wings on the front and a depiction of the surface close to her heart on the other.

A ceremony will take place at the Tower, where the Crown Jewels are held, on Monday evening, attended by children from Tower Hamlets, one of the Olympic boroughs.

Seb Coe said it was "great the London 2012 medals will be kept safe and secure" at the central London royal palace and fortress.

He said: "For an athlete, winning an Olympic or Paralympic medal represents the conclusion of thousands of hours of training and reaching the highest level in sport.

"The victory ceremonies then provide the moment they can truly celebrate their success."

Minister for Sport and the Olympics, Hugh Robertson said: "To the athletes competing to win these medals, they are as precious as the Crown Jewels, so it is fitting that they should be stored for safe keeping in the same iconic location."

The first medals will be awarded for shooting on Saturday, 28 July.

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