They might be hungry for the gold, but Olympic athletes should avoid chomping down on their medals — which are made from recycled cellphones and other electronic devices, organizers for Tokyo 2020 recently joked in a tweet.
“We just want to officially confirm that the #Tokyo2020 medals are not edible!” Tokyo 2020 wrote on Sunday alongside an image of an athlete tasting her victory by biting down on her gold prize.
Modern day medals have some unsavory materials, so athletes should be wary about biting down too hard, Tokyo 2020 noted.
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“Our medals are made from material recycled from electronic devices donated by the Japanese public,” organizers wrote in a tweet.
“So, you don’t have to bite them… but we know you still will #UnitedByEmotion.”
Once upon a time, people did bite coins to see if they were real gold and not a plated imposter, because solid gold is more malleable than other metals and only the real McCoy would leave an indentation.
These days, the practice serves no purpose on the Olympic stage because the first-place awards athletes receive are only about 1.34% solid gold, NBC Chicago reported.
Throughout the modern age, athletes have taken to biting their medals while posing on the podium for photographs following big wins in their respective disciplines for no other reason than it makes for a good shot.
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“It’s become an obsession with the photographers,” David Wallechinsky, the president of the International Society of Olympic Historians, explained to CNN in 2012.
“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.”
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