18 medals from the Olympics or Paralympics and in addition a lot of other medals won over time, picked by the athletes themselves, captured on photos.
From August 28 to September 17 there is in the Atrium of Viru Keskus a photo exhibition “Igihaljad” (Evergreen) created in partnership by the Estonian Olympic Committee and the Estonian Sports and Olympic Museum, showing the highest achievements of top Estonian athletes of various fields of sport from different times to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Estonian Olympic Committee and the 60th anniversary of the Estonian Sports and Olympic Museum.
According to the director of the Estonian Sports and Olympic Museum Siim Randoja, the exhibition was inspired by the photography project Perpetui Flores of Polish photographer Ewa Bilan-Stochi. The further development of the enchanting idea, with the consent of the author, offers a marvellous opportunity to showcase the fruits of the hard work of Estonian sports heroes in a fitting manner. “Estonian athletes have won very many awards at various major competitions and they will adorn the Estonian sports history forever. Hopefully these bunches of medals will help to remember these achievements and will inspire younger sports fans on their road to the top,” said Randoja.
According to EOK100 project manager Anu Kaljurand, the athletes themselves chose the medals from those they have won. “I am glad that all the athletes embraced the idea and started to sort out their medals that some had in the sports museum and others in their parents’ homes. For example Alexei Budolin had to accompany his medals on their way from Switzerland to Estonia,” Kaljurand mentioned.
Bunches of medals from Olympic winners Erki Nool, Gerd Kanter, Irina Embrich, Kristina Šmigun-Vähi, Olympic medal winners Alexei Budolin, Kelly Sildaru, Tõnu Endrekson, Paralympic winner Marge Kõrkjas, swimmer Eneli Jefimova, football player Joel Lindpere, basketball player Merike Anderson and body builder Ott Kiivikas have been presented to viewers.
The bunches of medals were photographed by Roman “Grandfather” Neimann, who took the photo project as a sort of a challenge. “The initial plan was to develop the idea of the Polish photographer, but as the work progressed we found that nevertheless a bunch of medals held by their owner felt a much better idea. It was great to work with the athletes — they stepped into the studio and immediately understood that they have seen and experienced everything in their lives,” Neimann recalled.
Next to each photo visitors can find QR codes that lead to interviews with the athletes to give insight to the backgrounds of the victories and to recall the emotional paths that led to their medals.
You can see the photo exhibition in the Atrium of Viru Keskus from August 28 to September 17. Starting from September 30 the evergreen bunches of medals can be seen in the Estonian Sports and Olympic Museum in Tartu and then it will travel to various destinations over Estonia.
Author of photographs: Raigo Pajula/Estonian Olympic Committee