Ground Report | New Delhi: Why athletes bite their medals; The world has its eyes set on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, a unique event in which the world’s best athletes compete for their honor and that of their countries. There are many curiosities related to the event, but surely one that you have asked yourself more frequently is the following.
Why athletes bite their medals
The fact that an athlete or Olympian poses biting with his gold medal is nothing more than a pure “pose” that the press (and photographers) love. However, there is a “deeper” reason for this action, apparently stemming from the famous gold rush period in the United States, when miners needed to check gold nuggets for pyrite (also called Gold Rush). fools) or if it really was gold.
By biting the medal, therefore, the athlete emulates the gesture of obtaining great wealth and checks the “authenticity” of the gold that has just been delivered. Obviously, it is a symbolic wealth since the value of the Olympic medals is not very high. In fact, the Tokyo gold medals that have been designed by the famous Japanese designer Junichi Kawanishi, are gold-plated silver medals, since they only have about 6 grams of gold for about 550 grams of pure silver.
Many years ago, cutting metal—any metal, not just medals from the Olympics—was a way to test its authenticity. During the gold rush in California in the late 1800s, people used to cut gold to check if it was real. The theory was that pure gold is a soft, malleable metal. If the cutting left indentation marks on the metal, it was most likely genuine. If it didn’t, you could have broken a tooth. But since today’s medals aren’t solid gold, the bite test doesn’t help.
It could also be because these champions have seen their sister and brother athletes do the same. Michael Phelps lost his medal. So did Simone Biles. So today’s Olympic athletes are following tradition.
How much do medals cost in the Olympics?
A gold medal consisting of 6 grams of gold and mostly silver comes in around $830, while a silver medal comes for around $445. The cost of a bronze medal ranges from $2 to $2.50. But of course, they are invaluable to athletes!