A medal is a tiny metal token that is presented as recognition for merit or to mark an occasion. There are medals for athletics, the military, intellectual achievement, etc. Additionally, there are medals with religious connotations.
The top three competitors in the competition are awarded medals at the Olympic Games and many other sporting events. The gold medal goes to the contest champion. The second-place finisher receives the silver medal. The bronze medal is awarded to the third-place finisher.
Here are some little known facts about Olympic Medals that you didn’t know before:
- Different countries treat medals quite differently.
For instance, every South Korean male between the ages of 18 and 35 who wins an Olympic medal is excused from the nation’s two-year military service requirement.
- They are not worth their weight in gold.
In fact, rules mandate that gold medals be plated with no less than six grammes of gold and at least 92.5 percent silver. Since 1912, there hasn’t been a medal made of solid gold.
- It is still valuable.
Even if Ukrainian boxer Wladimir Klitschko auctioned off his gold medal in 1996 to benefit a children’s charity, gold medals can still be valued. It cost $1 million to buy, but the buyer promptly returned the medal out of respect for Klitschko and his family.
- Gold medals can be highly expensive as well.
Every time the United States won a gold medal in 1984, McDonald’s sponsored a promotion offering customers the chance to win a free Big Mac. A staggering 83 gold medals were won by the United States, costing McDonald’s millions in lost revenue.
- In some cases, medals are actually worth money.
Thousands of the one-cent and two-cent Australian coins that were taken out of circulation in 1992 were melted down to create bronze medals for the Sydney Summer Olympics in 2000.
- What unusual substance was used to create an Olympic medal?
Most likely a meteorite. During the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, ten gold medals were found to have fragments of the large meteor that burst above Russia in February 2013.
- Clearly, America has the most Olympic medals.
No country comes close to Team USA’s 2,681 total Olympic medals from the summer and winter games. The Soviet Union, which hasn’t existed in 25 years, comes in second with 1,204 medals. Third-placed Great Britain has 806. However, since the modern Olympics began in 1896, Team GB is the only team to have taken home at least one gold medal at every single Summer Games.
- At the Olympics in Rio, America will defend an oddly named championship.
world champions in rugby. Rugby was removed off the Olympic program for 92 years after Team USA won the gold medal in that event in 1924. Since then, America has held the title of rugby champion.
- Bronze, silver, and gold all have a secret significance.
Medals made of gold, silver, and bronze stand in for three of Greek mythology’s five Ages of Man. In the Golden Age, gods and humans coexisted peacefully. Man began to deviate from religion in the Silver Age, while war and brutality peaked in the Bronze Age. We’re supposedly in the Iron Age right now, but it seems entirely Greek to me.