The winter and summer Olympic games captures the world's attention
unlike any other sporting event. Nations come together to
cheer on those who wear their nation's colors in hope that their
athletes will achieve Olympic glory. For years Olympic
athletes train at a grueling pace and make sacrifices with the hope
that they will have a gold, silver or bronze medal placed around
their necks before the Olympic closing ceremony.
Surprisingly, the highly sought after
Olympic gold medal is not pure gold. Nearly a century ago the last
pure gold medal was earned in the 1912 Olympic games in Stockholm, Sweden.
According to Dr. Anne Marie Helmenstine, the gold medal
typically is composed of 92.5 percent silver and coated with a
minimum of 6 grams of gold. The designs and composition of
the medals are decided by the host country, yet there are specific
minimum standards that must be met for the medals, including:
- Gold and silver medals must be 92.5 percent silver.
- Gold medals are plated with at least 6 grams of
- All Olympic medals must be 3 mm thick and at least 60 mm in
Typically, the medals' content is not
what is important to the athletes. I had an opportunity to speak
with Kelci Bryant, the 2012 Olympic Silver Medalist for Team USA Diving. I
asked Bryant what it meant to her to have such a valuable
medal hanging around her neck. She replied, "The metallic value
really doesn't change what it means to me; the worth of the medal
is a lot like an analogy."
I also asked Bryant if she had any
long-term plans for the medal or if she has ever thought about
selling her medal? Bryant had no plans for selling the medal, sorry
medal collectors. For now she said, "I do a lot of public speaking
and I like to take the medal with me to show it to people in hopes
that it will inspire them."
(1896 Olympic Participation Medal)
Even though Bryant's medal will not be
on the market any time soon, medal collectors should beware of what
they purchase, as with any collector item there are plenty of
fakes. The best way to identify a fake is to weigh and measure the
medals. Click here to compare authentic Olympic medals
with counterfeit and reproduced medals.
If you are interested in learning more
about Olympic medals, the ANA
Summer Seminar is offering an exciting new mini-seminar titled,
"U.S. Olympic Committee Medal Designs and Tour of the Olympic
Training Center," which will give students an opportunity to
enhance their knowledge of Olympic medals and tour the United States Olympic Training Center.
Additionally, the students will enjoy a meal in the same cafeteria
that Olympic icons such as Michael Phelps, Andre Ward, Apollo Anton
Ohno, and Rulon Gardner dinned in as they prepared for
their moment in the Olympic spotlight. To register for the
mini-seminar go to www.money.org/summerseminar.
Olympic Training Center - Colorado Springs)