Did you know that the last pure gold medal awarded in the games was in 1912 at the Stockholm, Sweden Olympic games? At the time the average price for gold was $18.93 an ounce ($10 less than the price of silver today) bringing the cost of the medal to a whopping $16. Today the International Olympic Committee requires the gold medal to contain a minimum of six grams of gold and roughly 92.5% silver. The composition of the London gold medal is made up of approximately 92.5% silver, 1.34% gold and 6.16% copper. With today’s gold prices fluctuating around $1,590 per ounce (28.35g) the cost of the required six grams of gold alone equals almost $337. Making the 2012 London gold olympic medal valued around $700, the most expensive in Olympic history.
If this year’s medal had been made entirely out of gold the cost would soar to a whopping $22,000 ea.
Out of the almost 300 gold medals awarded at these games who shined the brightest to me? My vote goes to Jordyn Wieber, age 17, world champion and leader of the “fabulous five” gymnastics team. To her that gold medal is priceless. This morning on “Good Morning America” Jordyn remarked, “That first night after I got it I slept with it under my pillow, then in the morning, I felt underneath my pillow just to make sure it was still there”.
That medal represented all her trials and tribulations she had to get to this point and her strength of character and commitment. When Jordyn fought back tears in front of the world, the world cried with her. After all her hard work and accolades she had not qualified for the all around title after some uncharacteristic slip ups. Then less than 48 hours later she managed to summon the strength to come back and help her team win gold. After her almost flawless vault the smile on her face was magical.
Everyone watching was so proud of her and her beautiful smile on that winning day erased all the tears.
The medals themselves have a small amount of pure gold in them but to the athletes they are worth much more than the price of gold. And to us, mere mortals, their dedication, commitment, strength of character and the lessons we learn from these young stars are priceless. I can’t speak for everyone but these athletes make me want to work harder, achieve my goals and smile through the tears.
Thank you Team USA and Jordyn Wieber especially.
Who do you think was a shining star of these London games?