The philosophy of the Olympic Games claims that the participation in the competition is the most important and not the victory. But in the end, all athletes strive for victory, thereby enjoying eternal glory and, of course, an Olympic medal.
The Olympic medals – gold, silver and bronze – are not for sale, but he is interested to see how much each country would earn if they could sell these medals at the current price of their respective precious metals
Such a calculation is not easy to make. While the number of medals won in history and the price of gold, silver and bronze are known, the metal used to make the awards is not. The size of the medals is different from one edition to another and the designer is unique.
Furthermore, Olympic gold medals are not actually made of gold. Most of their mass is silver. Here comes another problem. The ratio of gold to silver used for all games and gold medals is different.
For example, during the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, the gold medals weighed 586 grams, 20% heavier than those at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. In addition, 580g of silver and only 6g of gold were used.
Gold medals for the Tokyo Olympics weigh 556 grams, silver – 550 grams, and bronze – 450 grams. Here the ratio is also different. In the case of gold medals, 98.2% of the weight is silver. However, the amount of pure gold is the same as in the previous edition of the games – 6 grams.
As a result of constant changes and incomplete information on the amount of precious metals used, it is very difficult to make a complete and accurate estimate of the price of the medals if they are to be sold taking into account the amount of gold, silver and bronze in their composition.
In order to be able to make an approximate calculation of the price of the medals, the data for a particular Olympiad must be used, on the basis of which the amount of precious metals in general is calculated.
We can use the indicators from the Tokyo Olympics. They do not apply, however, in the case of the 2018 Olympic Games because then the heaviest Olympic medals in history were awarded. According to the Tokyo Olympics website, they are as follows:
- Gold medals 550g silver; 6g and
- Silver medals 550g silver
- Bronze medals 427.5g copper; 22.5g zinc
The prices of precious metals at the date of the calculations are as follows:
- Gold price: $1827.62 per troy ounce; respectively 58.76 dollars per gram;
- Silver price: $25.5 per ounce; $0.819 per gram;
- Copper price : USD 0.0097 per gram;
- Zinc price : USD 0.003 per gram;
Thus, a gold medal, according to the model used, costs 803 dollars, a silver one costs 450.45 dollars, and a bronze one – almost 5 dollars.
Of course, this methodology also creates significant limitations. Because Olympic gold medals are extremely rare, there is a good chance they will trade at a premium over the spot price of gold. In addition, design costs are not included in the determination of these values.
Usually, when making jewelry, the jeweler’s labor costs about as much as the metals used. Medal design costs would have an even greater weight in the final value than with the production of a gold coin because refiners produce gold coins on a relatively large scale and significantly reduce production costs.
First, one must see how many gold, silver and bronze medals the participating countries have won so far. The medals from the 2021 edition were not included, nor were the records of countries that did not win any gold medals.
Since the start of the Olympics, excluding countries without any gold medals, 15,600 medals have been awarded. Using the aforementioned methodology, even at current precious metal prices, they would bring American athletes $1.3 million, Romanian athletes $114,800, and Bulgarian athletes $82,200. The total amount for which all Olympic medals in history can be sold is $6.4 million.