For athletes, the Olympic medal represents struggle and achievement, but the medal for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Korea represents much more.
Sukwoo Lee, an industrial designer from Seoul, South Korea, was chosen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to design the medal for the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
“I think this project is important, not only to me but the Korea side,“ Lee said, “I loved that project. I’m quite honored I get to design the medal.”
The medal design is based on Hangeul, the Korean alphabet and foundation of Korean culture. The angles in the medal represent tree trunks.
The story of the medal starts with the Korean alphabet which are represented by seeds. When they are planted and cared for, they grow into flowers and fruit. The stems of the plants are cut into a circle creating deep diagonal lines.
“It’s not easy to produce because we use quite deep angles and the pattern was not easy,” Lee said.
The ribbons which the medals hang from are made of a gauze-like material called ‘gabsa’ which is used to make Korea’s traditional clothing.
Lee said that it took about 11 months to crate the medal from concept to production. The medal was unveiled in September 2017.
Lee has been an industrial designer for about 15 years. He said he hit a milestone when he was chosen to design the medal for the Winter Olympics.
“It’s a really exciting experience in my life,” Lee said, “So, this medal is my milestone.”