What the 10 Biggest 'Gold' Medals Would Be Worth, If They Were Gold
Sure, Tara Lipinski and the U.S. Women's Hockey team took home the gold from Nagano, but they were two (the team medals are counted as one) of the six total gold medals the U.S. won in 1998. The big dog in Japan that year was Germany, whose haul of 12 gold medals would be worth $175,000 today if they weren't just coated silver.
5. 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Winter Olympics
Weight of medal:11.4 ounces
Hypothetical pure gold value: $18,058
Both the winter and summer games in 1936 were less a celebration of international sportsmanship and fair play than they were a coming-out party for Adolph Hitler and his Nazi regime. Since Nazis and gold don't tend to have a positive connotation when lumped together in the same sentence, we'll sum up the gold medals from the 1936 Winter Games by saying only that they're about as modest as anyone who knows about the Third Reich may expect and they were awarded during an event where "Military Patrol" was a demonstration sport. P.S. Italy won the military patrol exhibition, which earned all the participants a lovely cash prize from dictator Benito Mussolini. The team captain, Enrico Silvestri, would later help overthrow Mussolini as a member of the Italian resistance during World War II.
4. 2012 London Summer Olympics
Weight of medal:13.2 to 14.1 ounces
Hypothetical pure gold value: $20,908 to $22,334
This year's gold medals easily crack the Top 5 by forgoing frills like glass and jade in exchange for a solid medallion marked with Nike and the Parthenon in front and London's Olympic logo and Thames River in the back. Considering it's the weightiest gold medal ever designed for the Summer Olympics, this may seem a bit overboard amid a global financial crisis. Considering the next three medals on the list were all struck within the last decade, though, the London Mint should be lauded for its austerity.
3. 2006 Turin Winter Olympics
Weight of medal:16.5 ounces
Hypothetical pure gold value: $26,136
This is the first medal on our list to weigh in at more than a pound, which means Germany's event-leading 11 medals weighed about as much as a small dog. In pure gold that could have been $287,000 for Germany alone and another $235,000 for the U.S., which came in second with nine gold medals. Even with a hole cut into the medal to represent an Italian piazza, the Turin gold is one of the most formidable ever bestowed.
2. 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics