Translated from the original article in the Noordhollands Dagblad
“Every day a gold medal.” This is how Merijn Everaarts formed the goal for his business five years ago. Everaarts is the founder of Dopper, which is know for its water bottles made out of recycled plastic. The comparison with the Olympic Games is with such an intention made quickly. “Something” must happen with Dopper and the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
And so it happened. Five years later Dopper produced the official olympic rings. Mayor Eduardo Da Costa Paes revealed them on the Copacabana beach “Could not be more prominent” said Everaarts proudly. He received the acknowledgment in the beginning of last month from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The rings are made with a steel construction covered with (what else) recycled plastic. Everaarts, but also the Rio de Janeiro city council wanted to bring attention to the “plastic soup” in the ocean: the substantial amount of plastic garbage that ends up in the ocean.
The Copacabana beach was chosen for a good reason as a place for the rings. “The beach is the last place that people can prevent plastic, an empty plastic bottle for example, from going into the ocean.” So that is the place where we want to make people conscious of this”, according to Everaarts.
The plastic for the rings was collected during the beach clean-ups on the beaches of Rio. Brazilians went on the beaches looking for plastic that had been left behind. First there was a work of art made out of the plastic called “Plastic Madonna.” The rings could then be made with the plastic that was left over.
The first design was rougher than what it now is, “You saw the plastic bottles sticking out, in a manor of speaking”, said Everaats. The IOC did not like this because it had to look worthy of the Olympics: something more official. “The IOC is very strict about this. It is their way or no way. That is why we’ve now chosen the official [looking] rings.
The women’s Dutch volleyballers Madelein Meppelink and Marleen van Iersel will regularly walk along the rings from their sponsor. The beach volleyball field is on the Copacabana beach. “We stand every day in our bare feet in the sand and have to deal with plastic and other garbage”, said Meppelink.
After the Rio Games the rings will again be recycled. The Tokyo city council wants to bring the rings to the Japanese capital for the 2020 Olympic Games. Before that the rings will be put on display in Maracaña Stadium where the opening and closing ceremonies from the games will take place.