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Why Do Olympians Bite Their Medals?

Ryan Lochte
Getty Images

I’ve watched more of the Olympics than I ever have this year (no thanks to NBC), and one tradition has really caught my attention. That tradition is the biting of Olympic medals by athletes who win them. It is a hunk of metal, so why in the world would anyone put their mouth on it? This has been bothering me for the duration of the Games. Here are some guesses as to what they could possibly be doing.

Displaying their Hunger For Victory

My guess is that they are doing it to symbolize their hunger for victory. Think about it, what better way to show that one medal isn’t enough than pretending to devour it so that you need another one, right? If I were ever good enough at anything to win an Olympic medal, that would be my reasoning and I would totally do this to draw attention to myself.

Photographers Ask Them to Do It

The media is a group of vultures looking to sell a story (I know this because I am one of them!), so would you put it past a photographer looking to get an iconic shot to flat out ask a medal winner to do something unconventional, such as bite a medal? The photographer brings that shot to their boss, they plaster it everywhere, next thing you know everyone wants pictures of medal biting. That is completely feasible.

They’re Curious to See What’s Inside

I think we all know that gold medals are not made entirely of gold, or even close to it. Maybe our Olympic champions want to know if their medal is just some tin foil dipped in gold paint. This theory can also be applied to our Olympians that have professed their love for the marijuana (looking at you, Phelps), who are probably curious as to whether or not there is chocolate inside of his haul every four years.

Do you have a better reason for biting into an Olympic medal? Share it in the comments section below.


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