A gymnast who earned a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics announced that her medal is peeling. Chinese Olympian Zhu Xueying posted photos to social media of the medal peeling off on the upper left-hand side. She earned the medal in trampoline gymnastics.
“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 social media website Sina Weibo, per 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,” Zhang posted in a comment under the photos.”
On the evening of August 23rd, Olympic champion Zhu Xueying sent a message to Weibo, saying that her Olympic gold medal had lost a layer of skin, and the upper left had mottled visible to the naked eye. pic.twitter.com/gDPBga7rkt
— Cherry_Chen (@11240Cherry) August 24, 2021
As mentioned by CBS Sports, medals awarded during the Tokyo Olympics, contained metal from recycled electronic devices from Japanese citizens. The Tokyo Olympic Games’ Organizing Committee told the Global Times the material coming off Xueying’s medal was the protective coating instead of the gold plating. They noted that the thin coating is meant to prevent small scratches and stains from appearing on the medals.
If the medal continues to peel, Xueying can get another one as the International Olympic Committee keeps molds of all the Olympics’ medal designs and offers replacements to the winners for a fee. An example of this is when Japanese mayor Takashi Kawamura offered to pay for a replacement medal for softball pitcher Miu Goto after biting into the gold medal.
— Olympics (@Olympics) August 24, 2021
Xueying, 23, became the second Chinese Olympian to win the gold meal in trampoline gymnastics. She has also won three gold medals and one silver in two different World Championships. Overall, China won 38 gold medals at the Olympics and 88 medals overall. It’s a vast improvement from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio as the country finished with 26 gold and 70 overall medals.