Tokyo Olympic organizing committee reminds athletes ‘medals are not edible!’

Olympic athletes

Members of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympics and Paralympics Games have asked athletes to stop biting their medals in front of the camera.

What was said: The committee took to Twitter on Sunday to remind athletes that the medals should not be eaten, according to The Independent.

  • “We just want to officially confirm that the #Tokyo2020 medals are not edible!” the committee wrote. “So, you don’t have to bite them… but we know you still will.”
  • Some of the athletes who were caught on camera biting their medals include Lee Kiefer and Sun Yiwen.

More than meets the eye: Contrary to popular belief, the Games’ medals are no longer solely made of gold, silver and bronze, according to the official Olympics website.

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  • The Tokyo 2020 committee oversaw the “Tokyo 2020 Medal Project,” a project that collected gadgets, including cell phones, throughout Japan.
  • This year’s medals were created with “material recycled from electronic devices donated by the Japanese public” in the hopes of “contribut[ing] to an environmentally-friendly and sustainable society.”
  • Around 5,000 medals were created by using the recycled materials. 

Behind the bite: There are a few popular speculations as to why athletes bite their medals, The Washington Post reported.

  • In the past, traders would bite gold coins to ensure they were not fake. Since gold is malleable, teeth marks can easily be discerned, so athletes might be checking their medals’ authenticity. 
  • The International Olympic Committee, however, stopped handing out pure gold medals in 1912.
  • Executive Committee Member of the International Society of Olympic Historians, David Wallechinsky, told CNN back in 2012 that it’s likely that athletes bite their medals for the media.
  • “It’s become an obsession with the photographers,” Wallechinsky said. “I think they look at it as an iconic shot, as something that you can probably sell. I don’t think it’s something the athletes would probably do on their own.” 

Featured Image via Getty

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