Date
25 May 2017
Michael Phelps kisses his gold medal. On Taobao, a replica gold medal is worth 88 yuan. For Phelps and his fellow athletes, a medal is priceless. Photo: Reuters
Michael Phelps kisses his gold medal. On Taobao, a replica gold medal is worth 88 yuan. For Phelps and his fellow athletes, a medal is priceless. Photo: Reuters

How much is an Olympic medal worth?

Let’s leave the question aside for a moment and talk about what it takes to win one.

To be No. 1 in your sport, you’d have to spend the best part of your youth in training camps and gymnasiums.

An average athlete logs about 10,000 hours of training before becoming world-class or Olympic-sharp.

That means living and breathing a certain regime, sometimes going without rest or sleep.

All that hard work comes down to the real competition.

And guess what? There’s only one winner, the one that in the end basks in all the glory and enjoys a richly deserved place in the spotlight

All the rest fade into the background and are quickly forgotten. 

But sometimes, non-winners come back heroes in their own right.

Their compatriots are just too proud of them not to give them a proper welcome.

I’m not first to say this but we are all proud of our Olympic athletes, especially Sarah Lee, who endured pain and injury, losing only to gold medalist Kristina Vogel in the women’s velodrome cycling.

Lee deserves a Hall of Fame medal, if not a Grand Bauhinia, more than anyone else because of her dedication to her sport.

And she deserves a very nice, long break.

In the next three months, a break that is a luxury for any athlete, she’d like to visit scenic spots such as Ma Wan Park and simply kick back and relax.

Now back to the question.

We can reveal that the Rio Olympic gold medal was mostly made of silver.

To be exact, 494 grams of silver and six grams of the yellow metal.

The silver was 92.5 percent pure, according to Victor Hugo Criado Berbert, production manager of Olympic medals at the Brazilian Mint.

The bronze medal, as you might expect, is not bronze. It’s made of recycled alloy.

So, if you want to know how much these medals are worth, the answer is it depends on who you ask.

Merchants on Taobao will sell you copycat gold medals for 88 yuan each.

But for any athlete, they’re priceless.

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JT/AC/RA

An EJ Insight contributor

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