With Sunday (29 June) marking just 50 days to go before the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships in Swansea, Great Britain, the designs for the winners' medals have been unveiled by the organisers.
With 199 medal events across 5 days of competition, over 600 athletes and guides will be hoping to be presented with a gold, silver or bronze medal this August at the biggest para-athletics event of the year.
The ground breaking design has been produced by talented young Welsh designer Chris Fox, the man behind the distinctive Championship mark at the forefront of the event.
The core inspiration for the design of the Swansea 2014 medals was the concept of `breaking the mould.' Just as the athletes themselves redefine their own potential and defy expectations, the organisers wanted to create medals that forge new ground away from preconceived ideas of what a medal should look like.
The dragon emblem that represents the Championships is highly sculptured, and this is carried into the surfacing of the medals to create a sharp, unique and forward-thinking design. The medals' predominant feature is a ring of six interlocking sculptural forms which represent the six core values of the Championships: passion, equality, excitement, inspiration, strength and pride.
Talking about the design Chris Fox said: "I am extremely proud to be involved in the creative delivery of the Swansea 2014 IPC Athletics European Championships. I lived in Swansea for seven years after moving there as an 18-year-old to study, so to be working on such a high profile event for the city feels like giving back some of what Swansea gave to me.
"Being asked to design the Swansea 2014 winners' medals is the kind of job that, potentially, comes around once in a lifetime. To be entrusted with designing one of the Championships' most important legacies feels like winning a medal in itself!
"When I set up my design business, Goldfox, in 2011, I never expected it would lead to such a fantastic entry into my portfolio just three years in. I'm treating this as proof that - just as the athletes will find in 50 days time - applying hard work, training and dedication to any natural talents you're lucky enough to have can turn them into achievements you'll be proud of for the rest of your life. I would like to thank the Swansea 2014 team for the opportunity, and hope they are as proud of what we have created as I am."
Paul Thorburn, Chair of Swansea 2014 said: "From the moment Swansea won the right to host the Championships our intention has been to deliver an event that exceeded all expectations, ensuring that this is the best European Championships ever held and that every athlete, official and spectator has a truly outstanding experience. The medals that will be awarded in August are a key part of the athletes' experience, something that will stay with them for a life-time; the design reflects the ambition of the team, the city and the country. The overarching impetus was to create medals the athletes would be proud to win, and that Swansea can be proud to bestow. Hopefully we've done just that."
Ryan Montgomery, Head of IPC Athletics said: "At every step along the way, the Swansea 2014 organisers have impressed us with their vision for the event which is IPC Athletics marquee competition of the year. They have not disappointed with the medals. They are simply stunning. They embody the city, the venue, the welcoming nature of the people and the hosts' overwhelming sense of pride that we have seen time and time again.
"Our main goal is that all athletes leave the European Championships with the same immense pride and sense of achievement. The aim of any athlete is to reach the podium - those that do so are sure to cherish these unique designs for the rest of their lives."
Tickets for Swansea 2014, which takes place between 18-23 August, are now on sale and are available both online at the Swansea website and from local outlets in Swansea.
Priced at between GBP 3.00-7.00 per session, tickets are selling fast but can still be purchased for all sessions across the week.
The event is being delivered by Swansea University in partnership with Swansea Council, Disability Sport Wales, British Athletics, Welsh Athletics, the Welsh Government and UK Sport.
A special video will be released on Sunday (29 June) at the Swansea website to mark 50 days to go.