All that glitters is not Olympic gold


With the News and Sports channels dominated by the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, we thought we would add a few facts about the medals themselves.

Gold medals were first awarded in St Louis for the 1904 Olympics, prior to that, only silver medals were awarded to the winners.

Each medal must have the 5 Olympic rings, date, and venue as well as an image of Nike – the Greek goddess of victory. There is scope for some countries to add a small element of individualisation.

This year all the medals being awarded in both the Olympics and Paralympics in Japan will be made from recycled materials for the very first time. The Japanese also became the first people to help with the manufacture of the medals by donating small appliances for recycling. This included 6.2m redundant mobile phones (it takes 40 phones to produce 1 gramme of gold).

The gold medals themselves contain only about 1.2% in gold (mostly in the plating); the rest is rather disappointingly made up of silver. The silver medals are indeed made from silver, and the bronze medals are 95% copper and 5% zinc. Gold medals tend to be slightly heavier than the silver with the bronze lighter still.

The actual value of a gold medal is deemed to be priceless to athletes, however, only $800 by goldsmiths. However, in 2019, one of Jesse Owens 4 gold medals from the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympic Games was bought at auction for $1.5m.

Gold is considered to be a safe haven asset, a hedge against inflation which investors turn to when markets start to decline, the price fluctuates depending on economic factors and is best held within a diversified portfolio.

Gold doesn’t really move with the markets hence can be a volatile investment and is not income generating, unlike equities and bonds although those who held gold in July 2020 did see the price of gold surpass its previous all-time highs of nearly $2,000 an ounce the highest since September 2011.