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Why do Olympic winners bite gold medals?
Do they taste good?
Journalists and photographers love to get a picture of Olympic medal winners biting their medals. I can assure you they probably don’t taste that good, so why do they do it?
The History of the Gold Medal
The first gold medals to be issued at the Olympics were presented at the 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. A total of 96 gold medals were presented and these medals were made of fine gold. Unfortunately we can’t find the technical specifications of these medals. According to the Royal Mint this year’s medals are 17 times heavier than the last solid gold medal issued in 1912 so we can assume the 1904 medals were a similar weight – approximately 24.235 g.
Good enough to eat?
Solid gold is extremely soft. If you bit a piece of 24 carat gold your teeth would undoubtedly sink into the metal, so we assume this is where the tradition started. It is now however, only tradition. The 2012 medals consist of 92.5% silver and 1.34% gold, with the remainder copper. The exact weight of the gold is debatable – as discussed in our previous blog post The Real Value of 2012 Olympic Gold Medals - however as they contain such a small percentage of gold we can guarantee they will not be soft enough to bite.
Athletes or Journalists?
According to Louis Smith and Greg Rutherford on The Chris Moyles Show this morning (09/08/2012) the photographers and journalists just shout “bite your medal” and they’re so overwhelmed they do it! Let’s hope they don’t put too much pressure on as they are more likely to crack a tooth than bend the medal!
Q. Why do Olympic medal winners bite medals?
A. Because victory tastes sweet!
Our original site www.24carat.co.uk contains many more pages of gold facts, so if you really are interested in gold alloys then please view the following pages.
*Photo taken from The Sun [online] 5th August 2012