What’s a Medal Made of? Sport & Health 21 AUG 2008

One of my favourite stories out of the Olympics at the moment is the *shock* *horror* revelation (actually this information has been publically known for some time now!) that the Olympic gold medals that the athletes are competing for are made up of nearly 93% silver and in fact only 6% pure gold, making the second place athletes who coyly suggest that it is pretty pointless in going for ‘gold’ anyway 100% right in their statements! :)

If fact Olympic medal mineral composition and design is a pretty interesting affair, with some more details on the subject coming from those lovable Aussies (who provide the minerals used in the medals) which can be found here: http://www.minerals.org.au/olympics/medals

With regards to this year’s medal design, the official Beijing Olympic site says that the inspiration for the design comes from the Chinese ‘Bi’, an ancient jade disk with a hole in the centre and inscribed with a dragon pattern, and that the medals are supposed to symbolize nobility and virtue, embodiments of traditional Chinese ethics and honour. (Although try telling that to the bloke who got stripped of his gold in SHOOTING for doping! I mean what the heck, why would someone need to dope for shooting?!?)

The medals are 70mm in diameter and 6mm in thickness and on the front, adopt the standard design prescribed by the International Olympic Committee. The back of each medal is inlaid with jade with the Beijing Games emblem engraved in the metal centrepiece.

Olympic Medal Reverse

Olympic Medal Front

Pretty nice methinks.

Related link: http://en.beijing2008.cn/spirit/beijing2008/graphic/n214070893.shtml

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About Craig Lotter

South African software architect and developer at Touchwork. Husband to a cupcake baker and father to two little girls. I don't have time for myself any more.