Imagine this: You finally accomplished your lifelong dream of winning an Olympic medal, and it’s displayed prominently in your trophy case. But when you show it to family and friends a year later, it doesn’t look the same — in fact, it’s flaking apart.
That scenario apparently is a reality for a number of medal winners from the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. According to a report from the Agence France-Presse, a good chunk of the 2,000-plus medals from Rio, which were made with recyclable material, have chipped away and shown signs of deterioration.
“We’re seeing problems with the covering on between six or seven percent of the medals and it seems to be to do with the difference in temperatures,” Mario Andrada, communications officer for the Rio Olympics, told the AFP, via the San Francisco Chronicle.
Andrada called the defections “completely normal,” adding that problems were most common among silver medals.
“The most common issue is that they were dropped or mishandled and the varnish has come off and they’ve rusted or gone black in the spot where they were damaged,” he said.
According to Andrada, the Brazilian mint and the International Olympic Committee will work together to repair or replace the defective medals.
The process of producing medals with recyclable material is nothing new, and medals for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo reportedly will be even more environmentally friendly. Still, damaged medals aren’t the best look coming out of an Olympics that had its fair share of problems elsewhere.
Thumbnail photo via RVR Photos/USA TODAY Sports Images