The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games took a new approach to producing medals. “Approximately 5,000 medals have been produced from small electronic devices that were contributed by people all over Japan…From the procurement of the metals to the development of the medal design, the entire country of Japan was involved in the production of the medals for the Tokyo 2020 Games – a project that was only possible with the participation of people across the nation.”
The current medal format – awarding gold, silver and bronze medals to the top finishers in each event – was introduced during the 1904 Olympics. For a few years, around that time, the medals were made of gold, silver and bronze, but that’s no longer the case. The medals awarded at the Tokyo Games are composed of a variety of metals.
- Olympic gold. The gold medal contains 550 grams of silver ($490) covered in 6 grams of gold plating ($380). That puts its monetary value at about $870.
- Olympic silver. The silver medal is made of pure silver. At the 2020 Olympics, the medal weighs in at about 550 grams, and its value is about $490.
- Olympic bronze. The bronze medal is comprised of 450 grams – almost a pound – of red brass. Red brass is 95 percent copper and 3 percent zinc, and is valued at about $2.40 a pound. The medal’s monetary value is about $2.40.
Of course, the real answer to the question about the value of Olympic medals is that they are priceless. The achievement they represent – becoming one of the world’s best athletes in a sport – has a value that cannot be measured in dollars and cents.
photo by: Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo © Pavel Byrkin | Dreamstime.com