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How the Rio Olympics medals are made

More than 10,000 athletes will compete for medals in Rio. Here is how they are made and how they will look.

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On Aug. 5, the nations of the world will unite (and simultaneously compete) in the 2016 Summer Olympic. The Games are being held in Rio de Janeiro—Brazil’s second most populous municipality—and more than 10,000 athletes will jostle for the distinction of “Greatest in the World” in their sports. To say that there is hype for the Games would be a dramatic understatement.

In preparation for the Games, the Rio 2016 Olympic committee on June 15 released a video of the Rio medals being produced and provided a peek into what the medals will look like. Like the laurels of Olympic games past, gold medals will be 525 grams of silver plated with six grams of pure gold; silver medals will be 525 grams of silver; and bronze medals will be a similarly weighted mixture of copper, zinc, and tin.

The street costs for the medals were roughly $600, $370, and $3.50, respectively, when Olympics medals were last distributed (at the 2014 Sochi winter games). Perhaps greater value for the medals, though, lies in their production itself, with each medal routinely taking more than 18 hours to make. But no matter—we all know that the Olympic medals are worth infinitely more than their monetary expense or manufacturing process could ever dictate.

The Rio 2016 committee’s discharge of the medal-making video is part of a much larger movement that is bringing the Olympics and their proceedings to as many people as possible. This movement was kicked off with the recent announcement of a deal between Snapchat, NBC and BuzzFeed that will provide real-time Olympics highlights on the Snapchat app itself. The broadcasting of highlights on an app that now has more than 200 million users is a logical step, as NBC is trying to make the Olympics as public as possible.

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Technology is at never-before-seen heights, and it is refreshing to see Snapchat, NBC, the Rio committee, and others using technology and its distributive powers to make the Olympics the best they’ve ever been. The countdown to the Rio Olympics started the second the 2012 London Games ended, and tech has made the excitement for Rio even more intense.