Brazil’s 2016 Olympic medal has barely any gold on it
The coveted gold medals champions will get at the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics to be held next month in Brazil will boast a shiny yellow colour, but will barely have any gold on it.
The medals, each weighing just over a pound (500g), are mostly made of silver. The gold one, for instance, contains of 494g of silver and just 6g of the precious yellow metal. At current prices, athletes will be getting an award worth about $600.
Those who win a second place will, in turn, receive one made of 92.5% pure silver, Victor Hugo Criado Berbert, production manager of the Olympic medals at the Brazilian Mint, told Kitco.com.
The gold is certified to have a certain amount of purity and is considered very high quality. The silver and “bronze” medals (by the way, they’re not really bronze either) are largely made from recycled materials, which is a source of pride for the team who designed them, as they said in a press release (in Portuguese).
The silver for both the first- and second-place medals came mostly from mirrors and plates. The bronze medals are made in part from the same copper that goes into Brazilian coins, so the mint had about 40% of the total needed when the process of making the 5,130 bronze, silver and gold medals started.
The Paralympic medals, currently in the making, will contain small steel balls, which help to identify them by sound for those blind or with poor vision.
Nike, the goddess of victory in Greek mythology, has been the face of Olympic medals since the 2004 Athens Games, with the Parthenon temple in the background. But the version of her in these medals is supposed to depict Brazilian women.
“Rio de Janeiro is a city full of curves in the sea and hills, just like the body of the Brazilian woman,” sculptor Nelson Carneiro, 60, who created them, told Enca.
The 2016 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, will be held in Rio de Janeiro from August 5 to 21.