The gold and silver medals weigh 567 grammes (20 ounces) and are the heaviest Olympic medals ever created. The bronze medals weigh 454 grammes (16 ounces). For the first time in Olympic history, the medals vary for each sport, featuring 16 unique artists' renderings.
On the front of the medals, an athlete bursts from flames carrying a torch, representing the resilience of the human spirit and the power to inspire. The figure has triumphed over adversity and is thus released from a mountain of ice and rock. The Olympic Rings anchor the image of the athlete, while the 2002 Games' theme, "Light the Fire Within" is etched into the medal, marking the first time that an organizing committee's vision statement is included on a medal.
On the back of the medals, Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, holds a small victory leaf, symbolizing the olive wreaths that were presented to winners of the ancient Olympic Games. Within Nike's embrace is an illustration of the event for which each medal is being presented.
Also imprinted on the back of each medal is the Salt Lake 2002 crystal emblem and the name of the event. At the base of the ribbon loop is the Roman numeral XIX, signifying the XIX Olympic Winter Games.
The medals are designed in the shape of river rocks, like those found in Utah's streams and rivers. Part modern and part rustic, they embody the spirit of the American West from the forging of the West to the technological present. Each medal is hand-finished and is slightly different from the other medals similar to individual rocks sculpted by water and wind.