Today I read a great story on the BBC about the medals. Apparently they are to be stored in the vault of the Tower of London. I love this idea - who would have thought that over 900 years after it was built the stronghold of a conquering king would be used to store the awards of the worlds greatest athletes.
The BBC reports that eight tonnes of gold, silver and copper have been mined in America and Mongolia to make the shiny awards. In total 4700 medals for 805 events all made of gold, silver and bronze. This sounds expensive. I wondered exactly how much.
Well according to my research a gold medal is actually made of silver which is then gold plated, 550 grams of silver covered in 6 grams of gold. The silver medal is made of an alloy of silver and copper, 509 grams and 41 grams respectively. Whereas the bronze is made of an alloy of mostly copper mixed with some tin and zinc.
Picture taken from Guardian.co.uk
Now the numbers don't quite work but let's assume out of the 4700 medals there are approximately a third of each so that's about 1566 of each type. So, this means in total the gold medals are worth 1566 x 325 = £508,905. The silver medals 1566 x 170 = £266,220 and bronze medals 1566 x 2.50 = £3,915. Total approx £780,000.
That's a lot of money, I can see why the Tower of London is a good place, surely safer than the banks! But one thing is certain they will be worth a whole lot more to the individuals who win them.