One of the biggest traditions in the history of the Olympics is winners biting down on their medals. No one knows when and why it happens, but it sure makes for a great photo. However, the Tokyo 2020 organising committee posted a comment on Twitter reminding athletes that the medals are not edible.
In the tweet, the Olympics committee said that the medals are made from material recycled from electronic devices donated by the Japanese public and that the athletes don’t have to bite them.
Among the athletes that did sink their teeth into their medals in Tokyo are Ryan Murphy, who won first place in the Men’s 100m Backstroke final, Anastasija Zolotic in taekwondo and British diver Tom Daley.
Why do athletes bite their gold medals?
Traditionally, athletes bite on their gold medals to check on the purity of the gold, and teeth marks will leave an imprint since the metal is soft and malleable. Furthermore, according to Olympic historian David Wallechinsky, athletes bite their medals as they want an iconic shot of their win on the podium.
However, the 2021 Olympic gold medals are made of silver and copper and contain only 1% gold.