MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Why Olympic Winners Bite Their Medals

If you watched this year’s Olympics (or any Olympics, really), you may have noticed several winners full-ob old-timey prospector by chomping on their medal. Why do Olympians bite their medals? Do they believe the International Olympic Committee would actually try to pull a fast one? Or are they hoping it’s chocolate?

Biting on gold used to be a way for prospectors to tell if it was genuine gold, since slight bite marks would show up if it were the real thing. But most Olympians should know their “gold” medals are really made up mostly of silver & copper before being covered in gold. If each medal were actually solid gold, it would cost the IOC about $25K each! So why DO Olympians bite their medals?

Well, most likely they’re just following orders…photographer orders, that is. Olympic winners pose for their victory images in front of a throng of photographers, some of whom request that the athletes do something…anything…besides just standing there & smiling. Somewhere along the way over the years, winners picked up the habit of nibbling on their medal to satisfy the flashy feeding frenzy of the photographers.

But what happens if someone were to chip a tooth doing that? Well, it turns out…they have! German luger David Moeller actually broke off the corner of his tooth when he chomped on his silver medal back in 2010.

So, if you ever make it to the Summer or Winter Olympics & win a medal, it’d probably be safer to just thank them for your prize & either trust that it’s real, or wait & let a certified metallurgist examine your prize instead of moving on to medal munching.

Got a Mundane Mystery you’d like solved? Send me a message via Twitter (@AndyWebbRadio), or shoot me an email at [email protected].