Athletes biting gold stuff is pretty common if you’re a fan of most international sports. Soccer players bite trophies, tennis champions bite plates, and Olympians bite medals. It’s just what they do. And while there are a variety of reasons they do it, one thing that should not happen is a mayor biting someone else’s Olympic gold medal.
Which is why, according to the Associated Press, a Japanese mayor had to apologize and an Olympian’s gold medal was replaced after a controversy erupted in the host nation of the 2020 Summer Games. As the story details, softball pitcher Miu Goto was visiting the city of Nagoya for a ceremony celebrating Japan’s win in the gold medal game against the United States when the city’s mayor got, uh, hungry?
Nagoya mayor Takashi Kawamura had praised pitcher Miu Goto during the Aug. 4 visit, but his eyes were glued to her medal. He asked her to put it around his neck. Kawamura then pulled down his face mask and bit into it.
“I’m really sorry that I hurt the treasure of the gold medalist,” Kawamura told reporters Thursday.
The mayor said the medal was undamaged, though he offered to pay for the cost of a new one.
Rather than take him up on that offer, Goto apparently took the International Olympic Committee’s offer of an entirely new medal. Which is good because, well, gross. And while the medal-biting fad may have hit the mainstream for any number of reasons — testing it like people once did gold coins, or maybe just because photographers like to yell at athletes to do it now because it makes for a good photo — don’t expect it to become a thing elected officials do again anytime soon.