Olympic medals of more than 130 champions from the Rio 2016 Summer Games have been discovered to be defective and reveal rusting or chipping, officials have stated.

Medals From Rio 2016 Olympics found to be rusting, chipping

“We’re seeing problems with the covering on between 6 or 7% of the medals, and it seems to do with the difference in temperatures,” Rio Olympics communications officer Mario Andrada told reporters.

He added that the decaying was “completely normal” after nine months, since only 1.34 percent of the medals are actually gold, and 30 percent of the sterling silver from the thousands of medals awarded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last summer came from recycled silver.

“The most common issue is that they were dropped or mishandled, and the varnish has come off and they’ve rusted or gone black in the spot where they were damaged,” Andrada told Reuters, adding that silver medalists had experienced the most issues with their hardware. Agence France-Presse reported the medals are “falling to pieces.”


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Andrada revealed he initially began hearing of problems with the medals in October. He also stated the International Olympic Committee and Rio organizers are devising a system to replace the medals with the Brazilian mint that made them for all athletes who are unhappy with their prizes.

During the London Olympic Games in 2012, organizers provided instructions to medallists on how to maintain their winnings in pristine condition, though they did not offer any specific details with regards to what room temperature medals should be kept in.

Nevertheless, the composition of Olympic medals varies for each Games. The medals for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, for example, are planned to be made from recycled cellphones and other small electronics donated by Japanese citizens.

The revelation of defective Rio 2016 medals comes as the last of a series of problems that beleaguered the Summer Games both during and after the competition. These issues included green pool water, controversial boxing judges, basic plumbing and rapidly deteriorating venues. One federal prosecutor even called these venues “white elephants” that were constructed with no planning for usage following the Olympics.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 16: Gold medalist Simone Biles of the United States celebrates on the podium at the medal ceremony for the Women’s Floor on Day 11 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Rio Olympic Arena on August 16, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

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