medal bite.

The reason why Olympic athletes bite their medals

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Why do so many athletes - particularly high-profile athletes - celebrate winning a medal by biting it?

It always looks a little strange and, for some reason, has become an increasingly popular thing to do over recent years.

The likes of Mo Farah and Simone Biles have been photographed doing it at Rio 2016 - and they’re by no means the only ones.


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Rafael Nadal has made a habit of biting his medals during his illustrious tennis career and the Spaniard has clearly inspired many others to do the same.

It was even happening way back in 1996, though. France’s track cyclist Florian Rousseau might have been one of the first to strike the pose while being photographed.

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Gold medals are made up of 93 per cent silver, six per cent copper and one per cent gold, so it’s fair to assume they don’t taste particularly nice.


The reason why athletes bite their medals

But, according to both the Mirror and the Independent, it’s photographers who are behind the whole pretend-to-bite-your-medal thing.

Mental Floss claim that the practice is encouraged by photographers who want more interesting pictures to sell than the athlete simply smiling and holding the medal up.


This has been echoed by David Wallechinsky, president of the International Society of Olympic Historians and author of The Complete Book of the Olympics, who is quoted by the Independent as saying: “It's become an obsession with the photographers…I think they look at it as an iconic shot.”

So, there you have it. Athletes aren’t the people to blame for this crazy. They’re merely obliging after being asked to strike a particular pose.


But athletes need to be careful with their teeth.

David Moeller, a German athlete, once chopped his tooth on a medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Gold medal winner Germany's Felix Loch (

"The photographers wanted us to bite into our medals at the presentation ceremony. And a corner of my front tooth broke off,” he told reporters at the time.

“It wasn’t too bad and it didn't hurt. But it is annoying when you can’t smile as you normally do. And because I want to have nice pictures and happy memories of my Olympic Games, I went to the dentist to get it repaired.”

Olympians: you have been warned.

Does the pose look stupid or is it actually pretty cool? Have your say by leaving a comment below.

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