Are Olympic Gold Medals Really Made of Gold?

Are Olympic Gold Medals Really Made of Gold?


OLYMPICS OLYMPICS OLYMPICS OLYMPICS. Everybody’s
talking about it. Or maybe I’m just talking about it a lot lately, but what about those
medals guys? Are they real gold or what? [Music] Hey guys, Trace here for DNews! Have you ever
seen photos of people biting their olympic medal? As if placing a piece of metal in your
mouth after finally achieving sports success wasn’t weird enough; there’s actually a lot
more you’re not seeing. Firstly, the actual BITE is an old practice
of collectors, testing the softness of gold by biting it. The Mohs hardness scale measures
how HARD a mineral is. Enamel on your teeth, for example, scores a5… but PURE
gold scores only a 2.5, so your tooth would be able to scratch or dent pure gold.
Silver is around 2.7, so you should be able to scratch that too, but the point is — CHECK
OUT HOW PURE THIS SHIZ! The thing is, Olympic medals are a pretty
new tradition. The ancient Greeks placed a wreath of olive branches on the head of the
winner. When the Olympics were revived in 1896, the
winners of the first Athens Olympics all received silver medals, not because they were cheap,
precisely the opposite. Silver was MORE precious than gold at the
time. First place got silver and second got copper.
During the 1900 Paris Olympics the medals were rectangular, and in St. Louis in 1904
the first gold medals were awarded! It wasn’t until London’s 1908 medals that gold was awarded
for first, silver second, and bronze for third place. The thing is… the last actual SOLID
GOLD medal was awarded in 1912 in Stockholm. The dirty secret of the Olympics is gold medals
aren’t really gold. Well, they are. Six grams of gold. Six. That’s like three pennies. The weight of the medals varies from one Olympics
to another, as does the size… the International Olympic Committee requires — for fairness
I guess? — Gold and silver medals be made of 92.5% silver, plated with at least 6 grams
of gold. Yep. You heard me right. The gold medals are almost all silver, the
bit that’s not gold or silver is copper. Which means, factoring in the six grams of gold, the medals currently stand at 1.45-percent
gold, and 6-percent copper. The SILVER medals replaced the gold with…
surprise… more silver. Bronze is an alloy of tin and copper with
a touch of zinc added in. The reason the cities don’t use gold anymore is it’s frickin’ expensive!
The cities have to BUY the metal to make these things. For the London Olympic games in 2012, the
medals weighed 412 grams — for comparison, a can of coke weighs 373 grams. The new Sochi medals will be between 460 and
531 grams depending. So… they might have as little as 1.13-percent gold. Salt Lake City’s medals were tiny and light,
whereas London’s were heavy. But regardless, they are ALL ceremonial, they’re not going
to balance your budget with the precious ingredients. If London’s were allllll Gold the medals alone
would have cost 40-million dollars. If you sold the gold medal for scrap, you’d
get about 708 buckazoids, but by contrast… the Bronze medal is worth less than five.
dollars. Yay, third place is still good! To satisfy the curious, medals DO come
up for auction once in a while. A gold medal from one of the members of the “Miracle on Ice” team at the 1980 Lake Placid
Olympics went for over $310,000 four years ago. Long story short, it’s not about their monetary
worth – it’s about the glory. Many of the athletes spend years of training
and blood and sweat to have that thing slung around their neck.
Does it bug you that the medals aren’t what you think they are? Should we go back to olive
branches? Tell us what you think below the video and thanks for watching, and happy Olympics
to you!

100 Comments

  1. Honestly, since you're not scrapping them (hopefully) why should anyone care what they're made of? Anything beats olive leaves. Plus, isn't solid gold really heavy?

  2. I was seriously considering going for an Olympic gold medal, but now that I know that there is very little gold in it, I'm now thinking I'll just go make lunch instead. 

  3. 50 million is a drop in the bucket. When you think of how many companies that want to buy in to be part of this event. At least if you win the Super Bowl you get diamonds and gold.

  4. wow, they actually have more gold in them than I thought. I thought it was an ultra thin galvanization to make it like an ounce. I'm surprised that the silver metals haven't started to be galvanized also, it might not be as expensive as gold but silver isn't cheap either.

  5. It's interesting that no one ever seems to complain about men and women being separated for Olympics events – blatant gender discrimination, definitely not "equality" – but never complained about in the media.

  6. in any case, if u will ever want to sell the gold medal it will have cost MUCH more then if it was made of pure gold 😉

    SO what is wrong?)

  7. I don't really care it's more the idea of winning the Olympics that counts. Plus if the were made of real gold, Canada would have about 35 million dollars!

  8. I heard that the Oscar statues used to be solid gold, but haven't been for many years as well. No surprise on the olympic medals. I agree, it's not the metal that makes the glory and significance, it's the honor of winning one. 

  9. I'd have been shocked if they were solid gold-how silly. On the other hand, I would NOT have been shocked if those at Sochi were plastic. The Russion military has long been nuts about medals, and for about thirty years has used plastic.

  10. Didn't know this but it actually makes sense for a couple reasons.
    1- the expense of the metals and safe keeping of them
    2- It keeps up with the original Athens Olympic tradition of competing to obtain athletic achievement .

  11. Another way to look at it — substituting in cheaper metal (though silver is still a precious metal) allows for bigger, flashier metals, than they could afford to make if it was actually solid gold.

  12. Next your'e going to tell me that our pennies aren't made of copper, our nickles, dimes and quarters aren't made of silver and our dollars aren't exchangeable for gold. :-O

  13. Well as part of my personal boycott of the winter Olympics due to Russia's bigoted policies I try not to watch anything related to it but this video was interesting.

  14. Yes it bothers me. I can't believe that the host nations couldn't afford gold or silver. Make them silver dollar size. That would not only show class

  15. As much money as all these countries throw around worthlessly there is absolutely no reason these medals aren't made of pure gold, pure silver, and pure copper. Its just more greed for the companies and countries. 40mill isn't exactly a large sum to the countries anymore.

  16. Id feel awesome if I could sell a $460 Olympic gold medal for $310,000 (2:30–3:17). Hell, if I could win one, then that would be the first thing I do.

  17. We should still make the medals the same but bring bake the olive branches that will be made of actual
    Bronze silver and gold completely. That would pretty sweet.

  18. Wait did people actually believe they were pure gold. I thought that it was common knowledge that it was just gold plating.

  19. the first interplanetary Olympics will award medals made of Platinum and plated in Iridium …since by then we will have perfected robotic asteroid mining, precious metals will be a whole lot less expensive.

  20. A life long effort and brutal training aren't worth $700 piece of metal? I'd prefer my tax dollar go to these hard working Olympic champions than the lazy welfare parasites any day

  21. Actually i heard in ancient Olympics they got vases of oil i think not sure if it was oil but they got vases filled something of high value.

  22. I'd say real gold… 40 million ain't Alot… Totally worth it. Aren't there only like 30 Olympic sports? I know the core are now 25…so could 25 medals be really that expensive?

  23. Shouldn't all of the Olympic athletes receive participation medals; regardless of their performance? That way, they will all be equal and feel good about themselves. Well, unless the athlete is black, is gay, or identifies as a different gender. Those athletes should be given gold medals because they are more equal than everyone else in today's world.

  24. +DNews For comparison's sake, what's the average profit, or profit of the city that hosted the last Olympic Games, in total (ticket sales, food, etc etc)

  25. That's their excuse, "its too expensive."
    They're putting these Metals around the necks of the best athletes in the world and they want to go cheap. So you mean to tell me, those Olympic athletes are not worth $1,000 to $1,500 a piece!
    I'm pretty sure every 2 years the Olympics are making over half-a-million close to a billion dollars in commercials, sponsorships people buying their products in gift shops an other places.
    But what do you expect! The bigger the company's the cheaper they get.smh

  26. Gold is a chemical element with symbol Au (from Latin: aurum) and atomic number 79, making it one of the higher atomic number elements that occur naturally.

    In its purest form, it is a bright, slightly reddish yellow, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile metal.

    Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element.

    It is one of the least reactive chemical elements and is solid under standard conditions.

    Gold often occurs in free elemental (native) form, as nuggets or grains, in rocks, in veins, and in alluvial deposits.

    It occurs in a solid solution series with the native element silver (as electrum) and also naturally alloyed with copper and palladium.

    Less commonly, it occurs in minerals as gold compounds, often with tellurium (gold tellurides).

    Gold is resistant to most acids, though it does dissolve in aqua regia, a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid, which forms a soluble tetrachloroaurate anion.

    Gold is insoluble in nitric acid, which dissolves silver and base metals, a property that has long been used to refine gold and to confirm the presence of gold in metallic objects, giving rise to the term acid test.

    Gold also dissolves in alkaline solutions of cyanide, which are used in mining and electroplating.

    Gold dissolves in mercury, forming amalgam alloys, but this is not a chemical reaction.

    A relatively rare element, gold is a precious metal that has been used for coinage, jewelry, and other arts throughout recorded history.

    In the past, a gold standard was often implemented as a monetary policy, but gold coins ceased to be minted as a circulating currency in the 1930s, and the world gold standard was abandoned for a fiat currency system after 1971.

    A total of 186,700 tonnes of gold exists above ground, as of 2015.

    The world consumption of new gold produced is about 50% in jewelry, 40% in investments, and 10% in industry.

    Gold's high malleability, ductility, resistance to corrosion and most other chemical reactions, and conductivity of electricity have led to its continued use in corrosion resistant electrical connectors in all types of computerized devices (its chief industrial use).

    Gold is also used in infrared shielding, colored-glass production, gold leafing, and tooth restoration.

    Certain gold salts are still used as anti-inflammatories in medicine.

    As of 2017, the world's largest gold producer by far was China with 440 tonnes per year.

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