Gold had a rich history of being the dominant precious metal around the world. This yellow metal is used in various purposes and one such purpose is the use of gold in sports. Gold and sports has a never ending relation since ages.
Why gold, silver and bronze?
These above mentioned metals denote the first three Ages of Man in Greek mythology: The Golden Age marked the presence of men living among the gods; the Silver Age was where youth lasted a hundred years; and the Bronze Age was, the era of heroes.
The Rio 2016 Olympic medals
The worth of a Rio 2016 gold medal will be approximately US$600. Brazilian Mint produced the medals made for the 2016 games, which are said to represent symbols of sustainability and accessibility, as well as excellence in sports.
The design features‘laurel leaves’ – a symbol representing victory in ancient Greece – and is also surrounding the Rio 2016 logo. The organizers have claimed that this design symbolizes the relationship between the “strengths of Olympic heroes and the forces of nature.”
Each medal in Rio 2016 Games is 85mm in diameter and weighs 500g, be it gold, silver or bronze. They are the biggest and heaviest medals ever made in summer Olympics. A total of 2,488 Olympic medals have been produced for the Rio 2016 Games – with 812 being the gold, 812 silver and 864 bronze.
Reduced environmental impact
The gold medals are supposed to meet sustainability criteria from the process of extraction to refining, as well as meeting strict environmental and labor laws. The gold being used in the making of gold medals for sports purposes is produced completely without the use of mercury. In the case of silver and bronze medals, 30% of the material used in making is recycled.
Paralympic Games medals
The Paralympic Games medals are designed with a special innovation. They have a tiny device inside the medal which makes a noise when the medal is shaken, which allows visually impaired athletes to know if they are getting a gold, silver or bronze medal. (gold has the loudest noise and bronze has the lowest).
The first gold medal
The custom of awarding gold, silver and bronze in sequence for the first, second and third place dates back to the 1904 Summer Olympics in St. Louis, Missouri in the United States. Since then, the practice is in continuation and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has since then retroactively awarded gold, silver and bronze medals to the three top placed athletes in each particular event of the Games. 1912 was the year which witnessed medals which were made entirely of gold.
What’s in a gold medal today?
The International Olympic Committee specifies that each gold medal must have a minimum silver content of 92.5% and at least six grams of gold. Persistent with the London 2012 Games, copper is being used as a major ingredient in the making of gold medals.
The ribbons, which position the medals around the neck of winners are made of plastic and half of that plastic comes from recycled bottles.
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