Some gold medals for next winter’s Olympics will be truly out-of-this-world.
Russian officials said Wednesday that athletes who win gold on Feb. 15, 2014 at the Sochi Olympics will receive medals that include meteorite fragments. The date commemorates the one-year anniversary of the meteor strike that injured over a thousand people in central Russia.
KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images
A craftsman works a bronze medal for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games.
"We will hand out our medals to all the athletes who will win gold on that day, because both the meteorite strike and the Olympic Games are the global events,” Chelyabinsk Region Culture Minister Alexi Betekhtin said, according to R-Sport.
Athletes in seven events — the men’s 1,500-meter speedskating, the women’s 1,000 and men’s 1,500 short track, the women’s cross-country skiing relay, the men’s K-125 ski jump, the women’s super giant slalom and the men’s skeleton — can take home the space-age hardware. The meteorite fragments were collected by scientists and will be incorporated into the gold medals, which are crafted by Moscow’s Adamas jewelry factory.
The 11-ton space rock entered the earth’s atmosphere at a speed of at least 33,000 mph, shattering about 18-32 miles above the ground and causing panic and injury in the Chelyabinsk region. The meteor struck earth’s atmosphere with the force of 30 atomic bombs, NASA said after the strike, and caused over $30 million in damages.