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Why Olympians bite their medals and what they do with them

2021/07/29

The sight of a jubilant Olympian standing atop the podium after being victorious in their discipline with a gold medal between their teeth is an iconic one.

We've seen it numerous times at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games already, across a host of disciplines.

The official Tokyo 2020 account even went as far on Sunday to try to remind people that the medals are not, in fact, edible.


"Our medals are made from material recycled from electronic devices donated by the Japanese public. So, you don't have to bite them ... but we know you still will."
But why do these victorious athletes decide to celebrate their coronation by pretending to take a bite out of their gold medals?
David Wallechinsky, Executive Committee Member of the International Society of Olympic Historians, told CNN in 2012 that it's probably an attempt to satisfy the media.
"It's become an obsession with the photographers," says Wallechinsky, co-author of "The Complete Book of the Olympics." "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."
The phenomenon is not exclusive to the Olympics though.

Tennis superstar Rafael Nadal has become famous for looking like he wants to take a chunk out of the trophies he wins, in particular the Coupe des Mousquetaires -- the French Open men's singles trophy -- he's become so acquainted with.


ictorious athletes across the Olympic spectrum have gone to different lengths to find a place for their medals.
Team GB's Tom Daley, who won the men's synchronized 10m diving competition with his partner Matty Lee on Monday, knitted a pouch to keep his gold medal safe while he was in Tokyo.
Daley, who took up crocheting over lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, posted on Instagram that he had made the holder to "prevent it getting scratched."
For Slovenian cyclist Primoz Roglic, who won gold in the men's individual time trial, he admitted the medal itself surprised him.

"Actually, it's quite a heavy thing, but it's beautiful. I'm super proud and happy," he told the media.




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