Winning an Olympic goal medal is one of the highest honours a person can achieve in his or her life. Thus, the goal of many athletes all over the world is to win one in their respective area or field. Although being awarded an Olympic gold medal can be great, many people do not know that the coveted item is not actually made out of pure gold. In fact, these ‘gold’ medals are, more often than not, about 98.8 percent silver and 1.2 percent gold. So, why did the Olympics committee choose to go with a gold-plated award instead of using pure gold?
Pure gold is extremely expensive. An ounce of gold, sold by gold companies like Atkinsons Bullion, can cost at least a thousand dollars. The hosting country may not have the funds to mass-produce 500g solid gold medals for all the winners. With the huge expenses involved in hosting the Olympic Games, organisers would have to look for ways to ensure that everything is within budget. This means sticking close to the minimum required amount of gold.
Warding off Souvenir Hunters
The Olympic committee does not really see the need to alter the current composition of the gold medal. It wants the medal to be gold-plated to ensure that it wards off souvenir hunters along with discouraging people looking to devalue the Olympic experience by selling the medals.
The Olympics is all about Taking Part of the Experience
The explanation for this reason lies in the creed recited by every Olympic athlete. The creed states that taking part of the games, not winning, is the most important thing in the event. This statement shows that it is not about the monetary value of the medal earned in the event. Instead, it is about the experience that an Olympic champion will take home from the event.
So, while the first-place athletes may not have won a solid gold medal, the experience they get from participating in this once-in-a-lifetime event is certainly priceless.