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Second European Games in Belarus

21 Jun 2019

Olympic exhibition opens in Minsk ahead of European Games

MINSK, 21 June (BelTA) – An exhibition featuring Olympic prizes and medals from a private collection of famous Russian entrepreneur Vladimir Potanin timed to the 2nd European Games opened in the Minsk Town Hall on 21 June, BelTA has learned.

The exhibition consists of around 400 items. They include gold, silver, bronze, and commemorative medals, torches, the Olympic Games winners’ and participants’ diplomas, badges of honor, cups, statues, and horns of the Olympic Games of different years. Auction value of award medals varies from $2,000 to $250,000. Medals with athletes’ names engraved on them are the most expensive ones. Torches cost from $1,500 to $170,000 depending on their rarity. For example, the Albertville 1992 Olympic Games had only a hundred torches created by iconic designer Philippe Starck. The collection also includes four champion cups, the most expensive of which dates back to the Paris 1924 Olympic Games.

The exhibition in Minsk displays the most interesting part of the collection from the historical point of view. It showcases prizes of the Olympic Games of the first half of the 20th century, including the first modern 1896 Athens Olympic Games and 1952 Helsinki Olympic Games which featured the USSR team for the first time. The exhibition also includes Olympic items from three games which have special significance for Belarus. This is the 1980 Olympic Games when the Olympic Flame was lit at Dinamo Stadium in Minsk, the 1994 Lillehammer Olympic Games featuring the former USSR countries as separate teams, and the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics as the exhibition is timed to its fifth anniversary.

The collection of famous Russian entrepreneur Vladimir Potanin introduces visitors to the history and heritage of the sport movement and the Olympics. It was opened to the audience in 2019. Minsk will become a starting point for the exhibition which will then travel round the world and go on display during the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, the Paris 2024 Summer Olympic Games, and other large-scale sport events.

The exhibition project is run by a team of the Russian International Olympic University (RIOU) headed by Academician Lev Belousov. “We are pleased that the first public presentation of the collection has happened in Minsk, ahead of the opening of the 2nd European Games,” Lev Belousov said.

He highlighted three main features that make this exhibition unique. “First, this is its artistic value. These artifacts - medals, diplomas, torches – show the main trends in art at the turn of the two centuries,” he noted. “Second, this is authentic history. We have artifacts from all Olympic Games, almost complete sets of medals, commemorative medals (all in all, more than 200), about 100 diplomas and more than 30 torches. In other words, each of these artifacts has a story of struggle, triumph, i.e. the history of the games. Thirdly, it was very important for us to show this collection to people,” he noted.

According to him, the exhibition has a powerful propaganda and educational potential. “This is why modules are constructed in the way to include the information about the Olympics not just the artifacts. This enables the viewer to feel the Olympic spirit, become part of the Olympic history, Lev Belousov noted. Said.

“For fans and sport enthusiasts it is a very interesting display of Olympic rarities. The exposition is mobile. The Russian International Olympic University plans to exhibit it during various sport competitions,” Russian Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov said.

According to head of the cultural department of the Minsk City Hall Vitalina Rudikova, it is symbolic that the exhibition of Olympic medals kicked off on the day of the official opening of the 2nd European Games. “The fact that this project is non-for-profit is very important. I would like to thank all the organizers that this project arrived in our city and provided us with an opportunity to see these rare Olympic exhibits. I am confident that this project will be popular with Minsk residents and visitors,” she said.

The exhibition of Olympic medals will stay open in the Minsk Town Hall through 14 July. Every exhibit is complemented with additional text and video materials.


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