Paris 2024: First look at Olympic and Paralympic medals featuring chunks of Eiffel Tower

Medal winners at the upcoming Paris Olympics and Paralympics will return with a piece of the Eiffel Tower.

Organisers unveiled the gold, silver and bronze medals at the iconic monument on Thursday, saying each will "be adorned with a small piece of Paris and a symbol of the country of France".

The decision came from a desire to make the medals for podium finishers "unique" and link the Games with symbols of France.

"There was a huge amount done to try to bring together these precious metals - gold, silver and bronze - with the most precious metal in the Eiffel Tower, the jewel in the French crown," said Tony Estanguet, president of the Paris 2024 Organising Committee.

Designed by Paris jewellery house Chaumet, the 18g centrepiece hexagon tokens are made of iron taken from the Eiffel Tower during previous refurbishments then stored for years at a secret location.

They are said to represent France. The French sometimes refer to their country as "L'Hexagone" because of its shape.

The fragments sit in the centre of the gold, silver and bronze medals, ringed with grooves evoking light rays bursting outward - drawn from a tiara design in Chaumet's archives.

Six small clasps that hold the iron pieces in the medals are a wink at the 2.5 million rivets that bind the Eiffel Tower together.

The five Olympic rings are also stamped on the iron of the medals for the Olympic Games, which will take place from 26 July to 11 August.

The Paralympic logo of three swooshes, known as the Agitos, is stamped on the medals for the Paralympics, which take place from 28 August until 8 September.

The back of the medals features the Greek goddess of victory, Nike, as she has done at every Games since 1928 - with the Acropolis to one side and the Eiffel Tower to the other.

Paralympics medals feature a view of the Eiffel Tower from underneath, and are stamped with Paris 2024 in braille in homage to the Frenchman who invented the system of touch-reading which is universally used by people who are blind and partially sighted.

The 5,084 medals have been produced by France's mint, the Monnaie de Paris.

The gold medals weigh 529g and are not pure gold, but made of silver and plated with 6g of gold. The silver medals weigh 525g and the bronze ones 455g and are a copper, tin and zinc alloy.

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The medals measure 85mm across and are 9.2mm thick.

They will come in a dark-blue box from Chaumet and a certificate from the Eiffel Tower Operating Co to illustrate the iron pieces came from the monument.