Just What Is An Olympic Gold Medal Made Of?

You’d probably be forgiven for thinking that Olympic gold medals are made, well, entirely of gold. After all, all the blood, sweat and tears that goes into achieving one means they absolutely must be made of gold, right?

Well, not necessarily so, unfortunately. According to head of medal-making for Brazil’s National Mint Victor Hugo Berbert, the 500g Olympic gold medals that the world’s top athletes will be competing for in Rio de Janeiro later in the year will actually be made from almost 99 per cent silver, Reuters reports.

A little bit sadly perhaps, the medals themselves only contain around 1.2 per cent gold, the majority of which is used for gold plating – so if you do have dreams of winning Olympic gold, you’re going to be a bit disappointed. We now have to wonder what the silver medals will be made of!

That said, these particular medals are apparently the most sustainable versions to be made in the history of the Olympic Games. A lot of the silver being used has been recycled from old X-ray plates and mirrors, while the gold is free of mercury.

Gold plate is perfect for giving something a bit of extra sparkle – like, for example, the Oscar statues. These are apparently plated in 24ct gold and it takes three months for all 50 to be created in time for the ceremony each year. Last year’s statuettes were also given something of a makeover, restoring original features from the first versions that were brought out back in 1929. Who wouldn’t want to win one of those?