Olympic Gold Medal Value - Histogram2012 London Olympic Medals - Historical Value
$104.81$147.33$330.03$602.10$-$100.00$200.00$300.00$400.00$500.00$600.00$700.00Sydney 2000Athens 2004Beijing 2008London 2012
Going for gold!
Of course, the ultimate achievement for an Olympic athlete is the gold medal,and the worldwide recognition and national pride that follow. And whilesecond place is still an admirable finish, a closer look at the prizes beg thequestion - should the podium only have two places?Based on the composition of Olympic medals in the upcoming Londongames, a first place finish is twice as valuable as second place, accordingto the 400g medals awarded. At current prices, a gold medal is valued atroughly $600, whereas a silver medal is closer to $325.The variation stems from a minor physical difference between the twoOlympic medals. That is, the gold metal is actually 1.34% gold. Otherwise,the two top-honour medals are identical in composition: 92.5% silver andthe remainder in copper. The loser on the podium, in terms of value, is thebronze medal, comprised of copper, tin and zinc, with an estimated value of a meagre $3.
The Ultimate Prize?
While as a society we tend to place a high value on athletic prowess, perhapsfittingly the ultimate gold medal has nothing to do with sporting achievement.Winners of the Nobel Prize receive, in addition to a rather large cash prize,a diploma, and an 18 carat ‘green gold’ medal, comprised of 75% gold, 20%silver and 5% copper. And while it is less than half the size of an Olympicmedal (175g), the value is a staggering $6,800, or over 11 gold medals.To put that in perspective, in Beijing’s 2008 Olympics, American swimmer Michael Phelps won an incredible 8 gold medals, setting the record for individual wins in one Olympics. Even combined with fellow Olympian,Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, who took home 3 gold medals himself, the twoathlete’s gold medals combined would still fall short of one Nobel Prize.But don’t weep for Phelpie - he parlayed those 8 gold medals intosponsorships and endorsements estimated at over $100 million. How’s thatfor leverage?!
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An Olympic-sized bailout?
Greece is planning to send 107 athletes to this year’s games, but if they’d like a little help with their debt problem, maybe they should send a few more.Even if the London 2012 first place medals were comprised of pure gold, a clean sweep of all 512 available golds would net the troubled nation a littleover 10.5 million dollars. To make good on their Olympic-sized debt, they would need to win every available gold medal for the next 31,000 Olympics.Unfortunately, they can only compete every 4 years. We wonder what nation will host the Olympics in the year 126012?
Enjoy the games!