Well, that’s a surprise.
Those gold medals athletes are working hard for at the Rio Olympics are not pure gold – just gold-plated silver. In fact, the of the Rio Olympics gold medals is 98.8% silver and only 1.2 % gold.
According to Compound Interest (The Composition of the Rio Olympics Medals):
“Giving out pure gold medals would be financially crippling for the International Olympic Committee, so unsurprisingly some compromises are involved.”
Olympic gold medals haven’t been 100% gold since the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm.
“Since then, they’ve actually been mainly made of silver, with a gold plating on top to give them the expected appearance.”
“Compositions are variable at different Olympics; for example, at the London 2012 Olympics the gold medals consisted of gold (1%), silver (92%) and copper (7%). The value of the Rio Olympics gold medal, based on its metal composition, is approximately $565. Contrast this with their value if they were composed of pure gold: their current market value would be $21,200!”
Seems like a lot of work is involved in moving from second to first place just for a thin plating of Gold.
Still, it’s the thought that counts.