Chinese Olympian Zhu Xueying has questioned the quality of the medals awarded at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after claiming her gold is already peeling.
The trampoline gymnast took to social media site Weibo to post photos that appear to show parts of her Olympic medal starting to come away just four weeks after clinching gold in Tokyo.
Zhu struck gold in the Women’s Individual Trampoline event with a score of 56.635, beating compatriot Liu Lingling and Team GB’s Bryony Page who bagged bronze.
The 23-year-old posted photos of her medal to show material flaking off on the upper left side of her prize.
Zhu said she initially thought that the smudge was just dirt but the spot began to grow.
‘Can your medal… peel off like this,’ she asked on the social media platform alongside photos of the medal.
‘Let me clarify this… I didn’t mean to peel the thing off at first, I just discovered that there was a small mark (like pic one) on my medal,’ Xueying wrote on the website, via the Global Times.
‘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.’
The athlete said she initially posted to see if other athletes had experienced the same problem.
They responded to Zhu’s claims by saying that it is the protective layer that is peeling rather than the gold plating.
The layer is supposed to protect the medal from scratches or marks and the committee insisted even if the protective layer is removed it ‘does not affect the quality of the medal itself’.
However, if a medal were to ever be damaged the IOC keeps molds of all the Games’ medal designs and can produce replacements – for a fee.
The Tokyo 2020 medal manufacturers Japan Mint claimed it had yet to find any issues with gold medal peeling but the Tokyo Organising Committee may open an investigation into the matter.
It may come as a surprise to some to discover that gold medals aren’t actually solid gold.
They are actually mostly made from silver before being coated in six grams of pure gold, bringing their weight up to approximately 556 grams each.
However, Japan put their own twist on the medals awarded this year.
Medals from Tokyo were made from recycled metal from electronic devices donated by Japanese citizens, a revolution compared to Beijing’s Jade-inlaid medals in 2008.