Athletes claim that some 130 Olympic medals from Rio are rusting or chipping, according to reports.
The International Olympic Committee and Rio officials plan to replace medals for any unsatisfied Olympian.
“We’re seeing problems with the covering on between 6 or 7 percent of the medals, and it seems to do with the difference in temperatures,” Rio Games communications officer Mario Andrada told reporters.
Andrada also says that the decaying is “completely normal” given the time frame, as it’s been about nine months since the Games.
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Since only 1.34 percent of the medals are actually gold, and 30 percent of the sterling silver came from recycled silver, rusting or chipping is to be expected.
“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,” Andrada said.
Andrada says they first started hearing of issues with the medals in October. Systems are being put in place to get the defective medals replaced by the Brazilian mint that made them, reports NewsTimes.
2020 Tokyo Olympic organizers are trying to create a more sustainable Games, reports USA Today. The goal is to make all Olympic medals out of recycled metal, specifically from obsolete handhelds like cell phones.
“Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic medals will be made out of people’s thoughts and appreciation for avoiding waste,” Japanese three-time Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Kohei Uchimura said, to The Japan Times. “I think there is an important message in this for future generations.”