A young sports fan from Slovakia has been announced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the winner of the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games Medal Design Competition.
The winning concept, entitled "Track of Winners", was chosen from a pool of over 300 entries from 50 plus countries by a prestigious IOC jury who described it as "modern, fresh and dynamic" when they were brought together from across the globe to deliberate the decision earlier this month.
Speaking about his win, 23-year-old Matej ?i?ka said, "It was our school task to join this competition and design a medal. So I drew a lot of sketches and spoke with a teacher to choose the best one. I was inspired by the athletes' track which, to me, means the base of the Youth Olympic Games. So I put it into my concept and used different shapes to represent the winning athletes and the podium. And finally I called it The Track of Winners."
The judging panel comprised world-renowned designer Thomas Heatherwick, the man behind the iconic Olympic cauldron at the London 2012 Olympic Games; Youth Olympic Games 400m hurdles gold medallist Aurélie Chaboudez (FRA); Olympic short-track speed skating champion Yang Yang (CHN); Youth Olympic Games Ambassador Yelena Isinbaeva (RUS); Olympic fencer and IOC Athletes' Commission Chair Claudia Bokel (GER); and IOC Olympic Games Executive Director Gilbert Felli.
The panel also selected two runner-up designs that were placed in second and third place behind the winner. They were 'A Hug From Lele!' by Hugo Fernández, 29, from Spain; and 'Stripes of Victory' by Csaba Szitas, 28, from Slovakia.
Of his role as a jury member, Thomas said, "It's been thrilling to have the chance to look through so many exciting ideas from all over the world and to feel how much the Youth Olympic Games mean to young people."
The online competition was launched in September and invited fans all over the world to get inspired by the Olympic values and share in the YOG spirit by submitting their designs. Matej's winning design will feature on the face of the gold, silver and bronze medals awarded in Nanjing from 16 to 28 August. His first prize also includes a trip to the Games, tickets to the Opening Ceremony and a full collection of the medals featuring their design.