Aug 10 2012

Is It Really Gold?


You've just won a gold medal! So why are you trying to eat it? TODAY 

It takes years of grueling training and competition to nab gold at the Olympics. So why do the winners immediately chomp on their hard-earned prizes?

The simple answer: Because the photographers ask them to, says David Wallechinsky, president of the International Society of Olympic Historians and author of “The Complete Book of the Olympics, via email.

While Olympic historians aren’t sure which athlete started the trend, they believe the athletes nibble their prizes to test the metal. People once bit gold coins try to make an indent; a small tooth mark in a coin assured it consisted of real gold, which is more malleable than counterfeit gold-plated lead coins. 

“We know that only in 1912 the gold medals were real gold and that in all later Olympics the gold medals were made from silver with a gilt layer to show it as being gold,” explains Tony Bijkerk, secretary-general of the International Society of Olympic Historians via email. The 2012 medals contain 1.34 percent of gold, making it one of the biggest medals.

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8/11/2012 5:25:47 PM
Paul Frea United States
Paul Frea
Silly photographers - I hate seeing those shots - they are unsophisticated.
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