Tokyo 2020's ’old metals into new medals' initiative got a welcome boost from athletes taking part in the Japan Open 2017 swimming event.
The project is aimed at recovering precious metals from discarded and obsolete electronic devices such as smartphones and laptops, and reusing these in the production of athletes' medals for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. As well as giving the wider public an opportunity to play a role in the Games' preparation, the initiative is helping to promote sustainability and reduce costs.
British swimmers Ben Proud and Abbie Wood plus Japanese swimming team captains Kosuke Hagino and Sakiko Shimizu were among those who brought along their discarded devices. A short poolside ceremony was held to mark the donations and to highlight the aims of the project.
Proud said, “In this day and age, the phone is an everyday part of life. So, for people to be donating phones to be made into these medals, is a great way for people to be a part of the Tokyo 2020 Games and also a great way to bring the Japanese people together.”
He added, “We're getting to the point where our generation needs to think about the future more, so being able to recycle these phones that maybe get lost and forgotten about is a great way to re-utilise them and make them into something so special.
Hagino commented, “I think it is a great initiative, which makes the medals even more meaningful to those who receive them. I hope many people will take part in this project, and when they see the medal ceremonies at the Tokyo 2020 Games, they might think 'those medals came from my phones.' I think it will make them feel more involved in the Olympic Games."