London 2012. It seems like everybody you talk to at the moment has Olympic fever & rightly so! Team GB are doing us proud & as I'm writing this we have beaten our medal tally from Beijing & it's not over yet. So what is the ultimate prize all of these athletes are running, jumping, throwing & swimming out of their skins for? The Olympic gold medal or course.
So what carat of gold is an olympic gold medal? Are they 9ct, 18ct, 22ct or even pure gold (24ct)? Well sadly none of the above. This is in fact a trick question because solid gold medals have not been awarded for over 100 years. They are silver! An Olympic gold medal comprises of 92.5% silver. The silver medal is then gold plated with a minimum of 6gms of gold. This mens the gold medals are less than 1 carat gold! The truth is if the medals were pure gold the athletes would barely be able to lift them. Not to mention the huge costs. Each medal would cost over £13,500 in solid gold! …and the runners up?Well silver medals are ore what you would expect. They are also 92.5% pure silver (like the gold ones). This is the same purity as our sterling silver used in jewellery. Bronze medals are bronze. This is an alloy of copper & tin. The 2012 medals also contain 2.5% on zinc.
What would a gold olympic medal fetch if it was sold? Well I guess it would depend on who sold it. To give an idea though American ice hockey player Mark Wells auctioned his 1980 medal for £200,000 in 2010 to pay for medical expenses related to a rare genetic disease.