Olympic Gold By The Ounce

Olympic excitement is in the air. Athletes from all over the world have headed to London to pursue the ultimate dream of Olympic gold. Some will succeed and some will fail, and some will come really close and go home with a silver or bronze medal. But what are they really going home with?

According to CNN, the gold medals that will start being awarded this weekend don’t contain a significant amount of the material. In fact, the gold medal is 93% silver, 5.66% copper, and just 1.34% gold. Those that earn the silver medal will come closest to getting the precious metal that their award is known for with 93% silver content and 7% copper.  The bronze medal is actually made up mostly of copper.

Will winning athletes sue for the perhaps misrepresentation of value? Probably not. First of all as this information is in the public domain, they all most likely know what they are getting. Secondly, the awards are priceless to most people that earn them, even if they wouldn’t be worth more than a quarter. (The gold medal is actually worth about $650.)

Where the athletes may want to seek legal council is when they are given corporate endorsement contracts to sign. That is where the big payday lies for most winners, but those contracts can have very specific guidelines including restrictions on a star athlete’s behavior on and off the playing field. One drunken bar fight hitting the tabloids and the athlete’s medal may become his most valuable commodity.

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