In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Team GB won 19 gold, 13 silver, and 15 bronze medals.

This year all 4700 medals are in London - safely tucked away in the Tower of London waiting to begin a journey that could end on the other side of the world.

They were all made at The Royal Mint in South Wales before being shipped to London on 2 July 2012 with a highly secure police escort.

Hand ribboned Paralympic medalBigger and better

They are the biggest and heaviest Olympic and Paralympic Games medals ever made, being 85mm in diameter and ranging in thickness from 8-10mm. The gold and silver medals weigh 412g, whilst the bronze weighs 357g. Each took 10 hours to make. Each was hand ribboned. Each was struck to the highest possible quality.

Chief Engraver, Gordon Summers, not only oversaw the whole process, he also made the master tools needed to turn the designs into medals. Instead of casting them, The Royal Mint struck the medals. Although striking is technically more difficult, it gives higher quality results.

Two innovative new processes

Normally the dies would be cut on an engraving machine. But this year’s medals are so large and the relief of the design so high, that the usual technique would not produce the world-class quality expected from The Royal Mint.

Instead, the die was cut and squeezed against a highly finished punch – an innovative new process created especially for the London 2012 medals.

The second new process, which included changing the shape of the die and the blank, was developed to ensure no metal was lost during striking.

Paul Deighton, LOCOG CEO, said: 'We're delighted to be working with The Royal Mint, a company established in the UK for 1100 years, to produce the London 2012 victory medals.

The Olympic and Paralympic medals are presented to elite athletes at the biggest sporting event in the world – a moment which represents the pinnacle of their career and we're pleased that they will be produced in South Wales.'