Every time an Olympian wins a gold medal, we can be certain of one thing: they will most definitely be photographed biting it.
But why? Because pics or it didn’t happen, that’s why. No, seriously. Olympic historian David Wallechinsky explains to CNN that photographers eat this pose up. “I think they look at it as an iconic shot, as something that you can probably sell. I don’t think it’s something the athletes would probably do on their own,” he says.
The idea of biting on gold actually dates back as far as 700 B.C., when gold was used as currency. It was common then to bite down on a gold coin to make sure it was real. Since gold is softer than most metals, your teeth would leave a mark in it and that’s how you could be assured the coin wasn’t a fake.
Of course, the last time a real gold medal was awarded to an Olympian was at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Today, gold medals are actually made of silver and then plated in gold. But the symbolism and achievement behind winning a gold medal still stands strong. Who needs real gold when you can have international acclaim and glory, right?