Rio Olympics : Here’s Why Olympians Bite Their Medals
Historically, biting down on gold was a practice to verify the authenticity of pure gold, with teeth indentation serving as proof that one was in possession of real gold and not pyrite, also known as “Fool’s Gold.”
Apparently, winning Olympians don’t end up with much real gold. Each medal weighs 500 grams. Olympic gold medals are only plated with six grams of gold with 99.9 percent purity. The rest consists of 494 grams of sterling silver,according to the Brazilian Mint. The silver medals are comprised of 500 grams of recycled silver at 92.5 percent purity.
One German Olympian, David Moeller, broke a tooth on his silver medal while trying to please overeager photographers in 2010.
“The photographers wanted us to bite into our medals at the presentation ceremony. And a corner of my front tooth broke off,” Moeller said.
“It wasn’t too bad and it didn’t hurt. But it is annoying when you can’t smile as you normally do. And because I want to have nice pictures and happy memories of my Olympic Games, I went to the dentist to get it repaired.”
According to the website Coin Apps, the “podium value” of a gold medal is worth approximately $570—a small amount compared to what an Olympian can earn as a winner.
None are more sick of the corny shot, however, than the athletes themselves.
Former US Olympians Natalie Coughlin and Dawn Harper-Nelson said in a video via NBC, that after winning their medals, they were faced by a mob of press photographers who demanded they bite their newly acquired hardware.
“They’re screaming, ‘Look at me!’ You just have everyone yelling demands of ‘Smile!’ and ‘Bite your medal!’” Harper-Nelson explained.
“They wear you down and they make you bite it,” Coughlin agreed.
Maybe we should apply Ben Stanley’s Twitter advice, and give guilty photographers their marching orders
When did it become obligatory to bite your medal? This must be stopped, if necessary by summary disqualification.