The winter games are just around the corner and the southern Russian city of Sochi is all set to host the much hyped event. But a question that often comes up is whether the gold medal is actually made of gold (and the same with the composition of silver and bronze medals). As it turns out, the gold medal weighs in at a hefty 16 ounces (454 grams) but only has 6 grams of gold plating (1.3%
) with the rest being composed of silver. The silver medal is pretty much the same without the gold plating. The bronze medal is composed of copper, tin and zinc. The medals highlight the Caucasus mountains which are one of the defining features of Russia.
But seriously, the gold medal is just gold plated? Are we this cheap? You would think that a gold medal is made of gold or at least has a significant amount of the precious metal. So maybe we wouldn't expect it to be 22 or 24 carat, but it would seem reasonable if it weighed slightly less and was at least 14 or 18 carat gold. You would think that there was a shortage of gold in Russia (or the world) as all the gold medals produced for 2014 are expected to use up just 6.6 pounds of gold.