Ask athletes what goes into Olympic gold medals, and they will likely say sweat and years of training. For Brazil’s National Mint the answer is simpler: recycled silver.
What most people don’t know is that the gold medals in Rio de Janeiro are nearly 99 percent silver. They contain just 1.2 percent gold, mostly used as plating.
The three types of Rio 2016 Olympic medals are made at the Casa da Moeda do Brasil, the Brazilian mint, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Each Olympic gold medal weighs around 17.6-ounce, or about 500-gram. They contain 1.2% gold.
“It’s a great honor and a great responsibility,” said Victor Hugo Berbert, head of medal-making, as he showed Reuters around the mint in Rio de Janeiro.
Nike, the winged goddess of victory in Ancient Greece, is minted on one side below the five Olympic rings, while the discipline for which the medal has been won is engraved along its edge. The other side bears the Rio 2016 logo.
Each of the 5,130 Olympic and Paralympic medals takes about 48 hours to make, said Berbert, who has an 80-strong team working shifts around the clock.
The medals are the most sustainable in Olympic history.
The gold is free of mercury, which is often used to separate gold from ore and can poison local ecosystems if not carefully disposed of.
Much of the silver is recycled from old mirrors and X-ray plates.
The attention to detail is incredible.
Each medal is carefully inspected for flaws
The exhaustive effort shows in the final product: perfectly made Olympic gold medals