You would think winning an Olympic gold medal like the one above would set you up for life. Even if you don't go on to fame and fortune in your chosen sport, you always have that big hunk of glimmering, glistening gold stashed away. Especially those handed out this year. The medals in London are double the size of those handed out in Beijing in 2008.
"Eureka!" Olympians must shout from the top of the podium. "I'll never have to work again!"
<span style="color: black; font-family: "Verdana","sans-serif"; font-size: 10.5pt;">Not to bring you crashing down, my finely-tuned friend, but you're likelier to get
rich talking about your glory days in the Olympics than you are melting that medal
down. Actual value of the materials in one of the awards pictured above? $644. The silver is worth roughly $330.
But wait! There's less! That bronze plate weighing you down as it dangles from your neck? It will buy you one latte, with enough to leave a tip. Their value is roughly $4.71 on the current market.
What gives? As you might expect, there's only about one percent gold in the top prize; the silver is more than 90 percent copper; and the bronze is all but three percent copper.
True, Michael Phelps might be able to fetch a decent nest egg if he sold his gold on eBay. But for most medal winners, the awards will just have to go down as a priceless achievement.
Image courtesy of Greg Thies, who is here in London with KING5 TV in Seattle. Follow him on Twitter (@k5greg)