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Why do Olympic athletes bite their medals?

By: Meagan Hook / BSU at the Games
February 11, 2014 Updated: February 11, 2014 at 1:59 pm
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photo - Canadian women's freestyle skiing slopestyle gold medallist Dara Howell and bronze medallist Kim Lamarre show off their medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Adrian Wyld)
Canadian women's freestyle skiing slopestyle gold medallist Dara Howell and bronze medallist Kim Lamarre show off their medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Adrian Wyld) 

Biting the gold medal. What started this trend? Is it made of something delicious that only Olympians know? Is it some kind of well-kept secret if you bite the gold medal you get special powers? I wanted to know what made this trend so popular.

David Wallechinsky, president of the International Society of Olympic Historians, said, ”There are only so many things to do with a medal, and the excited champions are usually appeasing requests from the gallery of Olympic photographers when they bite down on their booty.”

It has been said in the past that when checking for counterfeit gold, the inspector would bite it for authenticity. I assume the athletes are doing the same thing; Not believing the gold is finally theirs.

However, why are the athletes so constricted in the ways that they display their glory? They deserve to show off their prize in a variety of ways and not be limited to biting a piece of metal. I’ve come up with a few different ways for the winners to pose with their medals.

Everyone has seen lifeguards at the pool spinning their whistle on their finger. Why not try that with the medal? As it spins the shine will be reflected off the light and look beautiful.

Fan themselves. They would hold the medal as though it were a fan and flutter it with the attitude of ‘Too hot to handle, too cold to hold.’ On that same trend, grasping the medal fully with both hands, arms extended, the visual would be similar to Simba being presented to his new kingdom in The Lion King.

If being flashy is more of the winner’s style then they should take the coin spin approach. Find a flat surface and spin the medal while standing prominently behind it. The medal doesn’t own you, you own the medal.

Style is important especially at these Sochi Olympics. To be stylish and show off the victory, the Olympian should fashion it into a headband. A few staples or extra rubber bands can easily be used to shape the ribbon of the medal to the winner’s head. Instead of a flower on a basic headband it’s a shining gold medal.

One last pose to consider would be to actually eat the medal. Put the whole thing in one’s mouth. Yes, it’s scandalous. But that’s what photographers want. It’s what the people want. The drama. The theatrics.

So please Olympic victors, or just medal winners in general, spice up your pose. Biting is boring. Give the viewers what they want, more poses.

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BSU at the Games is a freelance news agency operated by 41 student journalists reporting from the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games through an immersive-learning program at Ball State University. More from BSU, here

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