“A Sparkling Future”, designed by 27-year-old Brazilian Dante Akira Uwai, has been announced as the winner of the Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Gangwon 2024 medal design competition.

This year’s contest saw a record-breaking 3,000 proposals submitted for the chance to design the obverse of the medals that will be handed out to the best athletes at next year’s YOG.

“A Sparkling Future” is a geometric interpretation of the Gangwon 2024 motto “grow together, shine forever”. The concept of growth is conveyed through vertical lines, while the diverse group of participants in the YOG is represented by elements created through cut-outs and texture changes.

The variety of shapes and forms depicts diversity and how we can all contribute to peace and coexistence in difference ways. The polished finishes create dynamic little sparks of light, symbolising the desire to surpass ourselves and make positive changes in the world.

“I didn’t want the medal to be a frame for a painting, only to be looked at,” Uwai said. “I wanted it to be treated as a sculpture. Something that could be picked up, viewed from different angles, and felt for its texture. I think the medal has a lot of that and this was very important to me.”

The young designer was unable to contain his emotion upon finding out: “Winning recognition like that, out of 3,000 submissions, is very important to me and I will cherish it for the rest of my life,” he said. “In Brazil, there is a saying: ‘What differentiates an artist from other people is not talent, but a burning need to create.’ That’s something that resonates with me.”

Twenty-four-year-old Zakea Page of New Zealand was involved in the selection of the medals. Page’s creation, entitled “Beauty in Diversity”, was chosen for the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020. Speaking about the winning entry for Gangwon 2024, he said: “This design is a worthy winner and a beautiful interpretation of the values of the Youth Olympic Games.” He added: “To me, it is reminiscent of the traditional paper lanterns that are a hallmark of Republic of Korea’s celebration, hanging like canopies around temples and in parades… even dotted throughout the streets of Seoul.”

The runner-up in the medal design competition for Gangwon 2024 is 27-year-old artist Luisa Valencia Gomez of Colombia, who designed “The Road to Victory”. Third place goes to 32-year-old graphic designer Carlos Alejandro Castañeda Arenas of Mexico, with his design “Land of Dreams”.

The prototype made by Uwai will now be refined while in parallel, the reverse of the medal will be designed by the Gangwon 2024 YOG Organising Committee, and will reflect elements of Korean culture as well as the YOG emblem.

The medal design competition for the Winter YOG Gangwon 2024 came to a close on 8 March, with an unprecedented number of designs received and countries participating. During the six-week period of the competition, over 3,000 medal designs were submitted from 120 countries, showcasing the creativity and talent of the designers. This was 10 times more entries than for the medal design competition for the previous Winter YOG. The top countries, in terms of submissions this year, were Mexico, India and the USA, followed by the Republic of Korea and Brazil.

The winning design will be used on the medals awarded to the athletes who finish on the podium at the fourth edition of the Winter YOG, to be held in Gangwon, Republic of Korea, from 19 January to 1 February 2024. – olympics.com

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