It’s no real mystery why the world’s athletes toil through years of training to compete at the Olympic Games.
Besides the glory that comes with standing on the podium to represent one’s country on the world stage, receiving the coveted gold medal is one of the biggest personal accomplishments an athlete can achieve. The question which tends to escape most minds? How much does a gold medal actually cost.
A lot less than most would assume. Olympic gold medals today consist of just a small percentage of the precious stuff, with as little as 1.2 percent making up the winner’s medal. A lot of this has to do with budgeting constraints and the fact that the price of gold is currently at an astronomical US$1,343 an ounce.
If the International Olympic Committee were to use real gold to create their medals, a 500g piece would equate to a lofty US$22,000 or $28,500 Aussie dollars. Across the length of the Olympic Game’s, that’s about US$50 million worth of gold medals alone without accounting for silver or bronze.
So as the figures indicate, solid gold medals simply aren’t feasible in the foreseeable Olympic future. If you were lucky enough to an athlete back in 1912 however, the story would have been different.
Gold broker Dillon Gage recalled in a blog post that, “The last time the Olympic Games handed out solid gold medals was a hundred years ago at the 1912 Summer Games in Stockholm, Sweden. Gold medals were in fact only gold for eight years. The 1904 Olympics in St. Louis introduced the gold medal as the prize for first place.”
The gold medals of the 2016 Rio Games are made with 494 grams of silver and 6 grams of gold. CNN reports that the blended product is worth roughly $587 according to current market prices. That’s from a scrap metal perspective. Once the medals are allocated to their respective owners, the price can skyrocket based on a collector’s value.