Test their medal.
August 19, 2008 7:07 AM   Subscribe

Who's the first person to bite their medal (photos or it never happened) during the Olympics?

The earliest one I know of is 1988 but the practice must go back way earlier than that?
posted by furtive to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think it's a bit of a joke, to say "yep, it's real gold all right!" and I seem to recall people doing it back to into the 60s and 70s at least.
posted by mathowie at 10:18 AM on August 19, 2008

From the Rocky Mountain News, 21 Feb. 2002:
Losers bite the dust and winners get to bite their medals. This curious Olympic tradition appears to date from a 19th century practice of biting coins to ensure their authenticity. Gold, being a soft medal, gives a bit when you bite it. But Olympians beware: Don't chomp on these medals too hard, the last time solid gold medals were awarded to Olympic champions was in 1912. Today's gold medals are made out of 92.5 percent silver covered in 6 grams of gold.
posted by Knappster at 11:29 AM on August 19, 2008

It does seem to be more prevalant nowadays - I wonder if Rafael Nadal has had something to do with that, he has his own habit of biting his trophies (including non-gold ones) - google images has plently of examples. I recall being surprised when he did this at Wimbledon given the staid surroundings, but he'd damn well earned the right to do so. Obviously not the originator of the whole thing but will have been seen by a lot of the athletes over the last year.
posted by simcd at 12:42 PM on August 19, 2008

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