Rio 2016: Paralympic medals rattle so visually impaired athletes can identify them by sound.

It has become tradition for athletes to bite their medals on the podium, but at the Rio Paralympics there is a new ritual to follow — shaking the medals.

Each of the more than 2,500 medals has a device inside that uses tiny steel balls to make a distinctive sound when they are shaken, so visually impaired athletes can identify which colour they are.

The bronze medals have 16 steel balls and make the lowest sound. The silver medals have 20 balls and the golds have 28, producing the loudest noise.

All of the medals also have Rio 2016 Paralympic Games written on them in braille.

“We wanted to begin a new way to celebrate on the podium. Usually [athletes] bite the medal, and now we want them to make this movement,” Olympics design manager Dalcacio Reis told Public Radio International, while shaking the medals.

He said the idea for the design came when the medals’ designer was thinking of ways to improve the medals.

“We just said, ‘Oh my God! Let’s try to do it’,” he said.

“We call it ‘the sound of victory’,” Tania Martins, brand manager for the 2016 Summer Games, told PRI.
Head of medal-making Victor Hugo Berbert told the International Business Times that he hoped the new design feature would lead to more elements that promote inclusivity.

“[We wanted] to not just be able to show the medal, but for those who have a visual or sensory impairment to be able to feel it not just by touching it, not just with the braille that is on it, but with its sound,” he said.

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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