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Olympic medals

Olympic medal compositions - 2016
Olympic medal compositions – 2016

If you’ve been watching the Olympics, you might have assumed that the medals given out are, as advertised, made of gold, silver, and bronze. Due to metal values, however, the reality is slightly more complicated. Giving out pure gold medals would be financially crippling for the International Olympic Committee, so unsurprisingly some compromises are involved. This graphic looks at the different metals used.

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What Are Olympic Medals Made Of?

Olympic medalsBy Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., About.com Guide

What do you think Olympic medals are made of? Are the gold medals really gold? They used to be solid gold, but now Olympic gold medals are made from something else. Here’s a look at the metal composition of Olympic medals and how the medals have changed over time.

Answer: The last Olympic gold medal that was actually made from gold was awarded in 1912. So, if Olympic gold medals aren’t gold, then what are they? The specific composition and design of Olympic medals is determined by the host city’s organizing committee. However, certain standards must be maintained:
  • Gold and silver medals are 92.5% silver.
  • Gold medals must be plated with at least 6 grams of gold.
  • All Olympic medals must be at least 3 mm thick and at least 60 mm in diameter.

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