As every Olympic athlete knows, size matters. The London 2012 medals
are the largest ever in terms of both weight and diameter - almost double the
medals from Beijing. However, just as equally well-known is that quality
beats quantity and that is where the current global austerity,
coin-clipping, devaluation-fest begins.
The 2012 gold is 92.5 percent silver, 6.16 copper and... 1.34 percent gold, with IOC rules
specifying that it must contain 550 grams of high-quality silver and a whopping
6 grams of gold. The resulting medallion is worth about $500.
For the silver medal, the gold is replaced with more copper, for a $260 bill of
materials. The bronze medal is 97 percent copper, 2.5 percent
zinc and 0.5 percent tin.