Why do Olympians bite their medals?



Rio Olympics has seen the return of the phenomenon- biting your medal.

With all the medal ceremonies recently you’ve probably seen loads of Olympians biting down on their new medals.

This isn’t a new tradition at all.

This is the 1991 Great Britain track-and-field team.

This is the 1991 Great Britain track-and-field team.

Why do Olympians do it?


Basically, the photographers force them to pose in that way! However some do refuse and instead kiss their medal (more reasonable).

According to David Wallechinsky, the president of the International Society of Olympic Historians, “It’s become an obsession with the photographers.”  “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.”

Of course, one historic way to tell if gold is real is to bite down on it. Apparently, your teeth will leave marks in real gold, which is soft.

FYI- the gold medal is actually made of mostly silver.

Rio’s gold medals mirror all previous gold medals since 1912- they aren’t made of solid gold. They’re only about 1.2% gold this year.

However, biting down on your medal can often prove to be hazardous. In 2010, German luger David Moeller, chipped his front tooth while biting his silver medal for photographers.

Yet, without this wacky tradition we would have never discovered Ryan Lochte’s legendary 2010 grill.

Ryan Lochte’s awesome grill