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Olympic medals for Rio 2016 are made from recycled mirrors and X-ray plates

The medals will be presented in a sustainably sourced wooden box. (Reuters/Sergio Moraes)
The Olympic dream weighs 500g. (Reuters/Sergio Moraes)
By Selina Cheng
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

Here’s an early glimpse of this year’s Olympic gold. On June 14, the International Olympics Committee released images of the Rio 2016 gold, silver, bronze and Paralympic medals.

According to a catalog of all medals since 1896 by the Olympics Studies Center, gold medals are traditionally made with gilt silver. London 2012’s gold medals, for example, were just 1% gold and 92.5% silver.

About 30% of the silver used in the new summer Olympic medals will be recycled waste from leftover mirrors, solder and X-ray plates, according to a statement on the official Olympics website. Bronze medals will be made with copper waste from the national mint. Even the ribbons hanging around the necks of the world’s most elite athletes will be woven with recycled plastic from old bottles.

Paralympics medals will be updated with tiny steel balls inside that allow visually impaired athletes to identify the type of medal by shaking them and listening to the noise.

On the face of each new medal is still the traditional laurel leaf and Rio 2016 logo. The reverse side displays a traditional etching of Nike, Greek goddess of victory.

The Rio 2016 Olympic gold medal (Reuters/Sergio Moraes)

All 5,130 medals will be produced by the Brazilian Mint.

The 2016 summer Olympics open on August 5 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The Rio 2016 Olympic silver medal (Reuters/Sergio Moraes)
The Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medal (Reuters/Sergio Moraes)
The Rio 2016 Paralympic gold medal (Reuters/Sergio Moraes)

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