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Fascinating Reason Why Olympians Bite Their Medals

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Fascinating Reason Why Olympians Bite Their Medals

Great Britain has been smashing it at the Olympic Games, with 24 medals claimed in the first week.

But while the sports and events may differ, one thing the athletes have in common is the fact they all seem to give their medal a good old bite when they pose for photos after.

The iconic snap has become a tradition for competitors over the years, but why do they do it?

Well, with gold famously being a malleable metal, biting down on it was an easy way of determining whether or not it was real.

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Over the years, though, it has become commonplace for athletes who get a gold, silver or bronze to pretend to take a chunk out of their medal.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Speaking to CNN, David Wallechinsky, president of the International Society of Olympic Historians, said: "It's become an obsession with the photographers.

"I think they look at it as an iconic shot, as something that you can probably sell. I don't think it's something the athletes would probably do on their own."

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The Tokyo Organising Committee even addressed the tradition at this year's games.

In a tweet, the body joked: "We just want to officially confirm that the #Tokyo2020 medals are not edible!

"Our gold, silver and bronze medals are made from material recycled from electronic devices donated by the Japanese public.

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"So, you don't have to bite them... but we know you still will."

In another tweet, including a picture of athletes having a go at their medals, the organisers quipped: "You got to take the wrapper off first to get to the chocolate on the inside!

"A huge congratulations to every medallist, athlete, official, volunteer, and the fans who made today special."

Two athletes who have been biting plenty of metal this week are Brit swimmers Tom Dean and Matthew Richards who won the 4x200m men's freestyle race at the games on Wednesday (28 July).

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Shortly after their victory, the pair turned to have a chat with Clare Balding, but were left a little red-faced by their conversation.

Discussing their win, the BBC presenter said: "You're 18 years old, it's your first Olympics, and you swam - honestly, your third leg was just phenomenal."

Fairly surprised by what they'd just heard, Tom and Matthew just stood there, clearly a little embarrassed.

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Eventually, a wry smile crept across their faces, as they fought the urge to laugh at what the presenter had said.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Team GB, olympic games, Tokyo Olympics, Japan, Tokyo

Dominic Smithers
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