The excitement for next year’s Tokyo Olympics piqued when the event’s medal designs were unveiled this July.
The organizers launched the “Tokyo 2020 Medal Project” which aimed to collate used electronics in Japan and turn them into medals for the event. A design competition was also held to really involve Japanese citizens to the historic gaming event. This is the first time that the Olympic medals will be made of recycled items.
Before these innovative medals, we are quite familiar that Olympic medals are gold, silver and bronze for the first, second and third placers respectively. But did you know how they came up with these tiers?
The winners of the first ever Olympic games in 1896 were awarded with olive wreaths and silver medals. It was only in 1904 wherein the gold, silver and bronze medals were used.
The main reason why gold is for the first, silver for the second and bronze for the third placer is due to the rarity of the metals. Gold, being the rarest of the three, has more value therefore given to the first place. Then next is silver and the most common metal in the bunch, bronze, for the third place.
Fun fact: the “gold medal” isn’t actually made of pure gold. Only 1.2% of it is made of gold while the rest of the component is silver. At the end of the day, it is more than just the monetary value but the embodiment of the sacrifices and efforts of the athletes.