Quirky facts about Olympic Medals

Here are five quick and quirky facts that you may not know about Olympic Medals. Have you ever wondered why people give out medals? Where do medals come from? Or who holds the most Olympic Medals in history? Well, this blog answers all of those questions, and more!

A Medal out of this world!

In 2014, athletes competing in Russia’s 2014 Sochi Winter Games literally received a medal from outer space. Well not entirely from space, but the medal contained extracts of a meteor.  The exploded ‘space rock’ that landed in Lake Chebarkul, in Russia, was used to create the custom medals. Whether you take this as a hit or miss, it’s pretty surreal either way!

However, we’ve all watched that movie. You know the one where the aliens come back for something they misplaced on Earth. So, if you prefer something a little bit more ‘alien-safe’, why not try our Contrast Metal Custom Medals instead?

American’s hold the most Olympic Gold Medals

Totally Rad! Shout out to America for holding the most summer Olympic Medals in history, 2,520 in total. Great news for everyone, unless you’re McDonald’s back in 1984. Let’s not forget that time when McDonald’s held a competition offering free Big Macs to anyone, every time the USA received a gold medal. Much to their surprise athletes went on to win 84 golds! Leading to over 6,600 McDonald’s stores in the USA running out of Big Mac’s.

Learning from their past mistakes. We can’t offer free food here at Custom Medals Direct HQ, but we can offer free personalised designs with the help of our expert design team if you order with us.

Why do people give medals?

To be honest, I don’t think anyone really knows. However, The BBC has a nice opinion article which offers a couple of suggestions. One of which dates back to Napoleon! The theory is that Captain Napoleon, not Napoleon Dynamite if you were wondering, had an idea of giving his misbehaving soldiers medals. Much to his joy, it worked quite well because his soldiers then preferred receiving a medal rather than a promotion. However, something tells me this wouldn’t quite work now.

Don’t worry we’ve got a blog on how to motivate your people with customised medals and pin badges if you were looking for creative ideas.

Not so gold after all.


Much to our dismay, gold medals have very little gold in them and haven’t had since 1912. Now, they are actually more silver than they are gold, with 92.5% of gold medals containing silver alone. Although they are still coated in gold and are worth a fortune to purchase – with previous Gold Medals being sold for up to to $1 million!

So, if you’re going for gold (or not so gold) Olympic or any other medals why not get in touch with our dedicated Account Managers and let them help you create a unique, distinctive, customised medal for your event or cause?

The future is recycled

If you follow us on Facebook, you’ll know this is something we’ve been talking about. Next year, in 2020, Tokyo will be hosting the next Olympic and Paralympic games. Even better, all medals will be created from recycled electronics. In fact, to be precise, a whopping 47 tons worth of recycled electronic waste will be used. In total, 2,500 medals are set to be created which breaks down to:

  • 29kg of gold
  • 4,100kg pounds of silver
  • 2,700kg pounds of bronze

We did promise you quirky facts and we hoped you enjoyed reading our blog.

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