Two Chinese athletes have taken to social media after it appeared that their gold medals were flaking, leaving large blemishes.
Women’s trampoline champion, Zhu Xueying and men’s 200m individual medley swimming winner, Wang Shun reported that the fragments of the medals appeared to be falling off.
The pair took to Chinese social media site Weibo with the claims, where they were then inundated with shocked messages from the public.
“Let me clarify this… I didn’t mean to peel the thing off at first, I just discovered that there was a small mark on my medal,” she wrote.
“I thought that it was probably just dirt, so I rubbed it with my finger and found that nothing changed, so then I picked at it and the mark got bigger.”
Wang reported the same and said, “I dare not to pick at it any more”.
However, Zhu said she does not intend to ask for a substitute as she sees it as a memento of her efforts.
Seemingly in response to netizens’ comments, she jokingly replied that her medal is not made of chocolate, and commended the organisers’ environmentally conscious efforts in using recycled materials to make the medals.
In response to the alleged quality issue, the Organising Committee of Tokyo Olympic Games informed the Global Times that only the coating applied to the medal’s surface had come off and not the gold plating.
“It does not affect the quality of the medal itself even if you remove the coating,” the committee added.
Makers of the medal, the Japan Mint, also reportedly said that it has not noticed any similar issues of layers peeling off from gold medals, but mentioned that the organising committee might investigate the matter.
For the first time in Olympic history, the Tokyo Olympics medals are made from recycled metal from electronic devices, according to the Tokyo Olympics website.
Dubbed the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project, the initiative took place for two years, recycling the metal from some 6.21 million used mobile phones and other small electronic devices into about 5,000 medals.