How much is a gold medal worth and how are they different from the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics?

How much is a gold medal worth and how are they different from the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics?


Affectively, the value of an Olympic medal can be invaluable.

Who can put a price on the effort of years that an athlete needs to invest to get on the podium?

These days, almost 3,000 athletes gathered at the Winter Olympics in the South Korean city of PyeongChang.

Those who get the best results can be rewarded by hanging a medal around their neck that may allow them to justify their efforts.

The organizers sent 259 games of medals.Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image
Image caption The organizers of PyeongChang 2018 sent 259 medal games to be manufactured.

From the economic point of view, however, the value of each medal is subject to market rules that take into account the cost of the materials used to manufacture it up to the trajectory of the athlete and the context of the Olympic Games in which the got.

Thus, for example, in 2013 a record price of US $ 1.47 million was paid for one of the four medals that Jesse Owens won in 1936 at the Berlin Olympic Games.

This athlete was not only the highlight of that event but his condition of African-American athlete and grandson of slaves involved a blow to the discourse on the superiority of the Aryan race proclaimed by the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

More silver than gold

Jesse Owens.
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image
Image caption A medal obtained by Jesse Owens was sold in 2013 for US $ 1.47 million.

For the PyeongChang Olympics, the organizers ordered 259 games of medals.

They all measure the same: 92.5 millimeters in diameter. But its weight in grams varies: 586 gold, 580 silver and 493 bronze.

The additional six grams of gold on silver make all the difference because both are made of pure silver but the first are coated with a gold bath.

The last time the gold medals were actually made with that mineral was at the Olympic Games in Stockholm in 1912.

The gold medal only has 6 grams of that mineral.Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image
Image caption 
The gold medal only has 6 grams of that mineral.

Since then, its composition has varied.

The current regulations of the International Olympic Committee stipulate that each golden medallion must contain at least 6 grams of 24 carat gold.

And how much difference does this make?

At current gold prices, which are around US $ 42 per gram, each gold medal is worth only US $ 252 for its cover. To that should be added about US $ 307 for its silver content, quoted at US $ 0.53 per gram.

Thus, each golden award would be worth US $ 559 for its metal and each silver US $ 307 .

As for the bronze, its composition of 90% copper and 10% zinc, gives them little material value.

The Korean brand

In the manufacture of medals, beyond the metal they require, the organizers of the Olympics always try to incorporate some differentiating elements that remember values or symbols related to the host country.

The box in which the medals are kept recalls the traditional houses of Korea, called hanok.  (Photo: PyeongChang 2018)
Image caption The box in which the medals are kept recalls the traditional houses of Korea, called hanok. (Photo: PyeongChang 2018)

In the case of PyeongChang, the medals are the work of the South Korean designer Lee Suk-woo, who incorporated some consonants from the Hangeul, the Korean alphabet, as a link with the culture of that country but also as a symbol of the effort of the athletes who participate in the games.

The design was inspired by the roughness of the trunks of the trees and shows the Olympic rings on the front.

On the back, it shows the discipline in which it was competed and the PyeongChang 2018 logo.

The ribbon with which the medals are hung is also distinctive. It was made with gapsa, a fabric typical of South Korea that is characterized by being light and of high quality.

In addition, the preseas are stored in slightly wavy wooden boxes, inspired by the eaves of the roofs of the hanok , the traditional Korean houses.

Another element that will make these medals distinctive.

As for the historical context, it is easy to imagine that these medals may be more quoted in the future if the rapprochement that took place on the occasion of these Olympics between South Korea and North Korea derives in something more than a friendly gesture.

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