Here’s Why Olympians Bite Their Medals

Most TV sets across the world are tuned in to the Olympics day in and day out right about now. Watching this athletic greatness take place is cause for many questions.

“Whoa, how do they do that?” is a common question in my household, for example. Another thing you’re likely wondering, though, is why do Olympic medalists bite their medals?

Well, folks, according to a very informative video on YouTube, they do it mainly out of tradition. You used to be able to tell gold’s authenticity by trying to bend it with your teeth.

Because tooth enamel is harder than pure gold, you would be able to leave marks behind on a purely gold coin. But, if the coin were simply plated in gold with say, lead as the center, then you would not be able to leave an indentation behind.

Of course, these days, Olympians are not trying to test the authenticity of their medal. It is a tradition to do this, however, and the Olympic games are all about tradition. Biting the coin also makes a more interesting shot for the photographer.

Another fun fact—today’s gold medals are not pure gold. They’re actually silver with gold plating.

To learn more fun facts about the Olympics (or how to test gold’s authenticity), take a look at the video below.

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So, there’s at least one Olympic mystery solved. As to the “How do they do that?” question… we may never know.

[h/t: Curiosity]

You’ve Got To Watch Michael Phelps Swim To The Sounds Of Super Mario

Anytime I hear the classic Super Mario Brothers music, I have immediate flashbacks to my youth and the countless carefree hours spent playing that iconic game.

And those sweet sounds also go perfectly well with swimming races. Retro SFX created this amazing video of Michael Phelps set to the music from the Nintendo classic. I think my favorite parts when it shows the second place person and the music when the American flag is raised.

This video has now been viewed over 6 million times and for good reason. It will put a smile on your face. Watch below.

A Second Olympic Pool Turns Green, Officials Say Algae Not The Culprit

Olympic athletes and fans were in for a surprise on Tuesday when the Olympic diving pool in Rio turned a very prominent shade of green.

The neighboring pool, used for water polo and synchronized swimming, remained mysteriously untouched at first:

But then that pool, too, appeared to be changing colors as of late Wednesday afternoon:

Olympic officials initially said the cause was a “proliferation of algae” due to “heat and a lack of wind,” however FINA, the international governing body of aquatics, released a statement Wednesday afternoon that blamed the pH level of the water for the discoloration. Via the Los Angeles Times:

FINA can confirm that the reason for the unusual water color observed during the Rio diving competitions is that the water tanks ran out of some of the chemicals used in the water treatment process.

As a result, the pH level of the water was outside the usual range, causing the discoloration. The FINA Sport Medicine Committee conducted tests on the water quality and concluded that there was no risk to the health and safety of the athletes, and no reason for the competition to be affected.

Olympics spokesperson Mario Andrada told reporters that the team in Rio was in the process of balancing the pH. Andrada blamed a lack of testing and preparedness for the number of athletes who’d be using the pool:

“We probably failed to note that with more athletes, the water could be affected,” Andrada told The New York Times. “The people in charge of the pool should have done more intensive tests.”

So is the pool really safe for swimming, as officials assert? Vox spoke to Nate Hernandez, a director of aquatics at a company that maintains pools at resorts and public facilities. He didn’t caution that the pools may be unfit for use, but he did say that “multiple things would have to break down” for such a result to happen. Hernandez confirmed that algae was likely not the cause given that it likely wouldn’t bloom that fast in such a large pool.

The Vox reporter asked if Hernandez if he’d be embarrassed if this happened at one of his pools. His reply? “I’d be fired.”

Here’s Why The Olympic Diving Pool Mysteriously Turned Green

Update 08/10/16: FINA, the international governing body of aquatics, released a statement Wednesday afternoon attributing the discoloration of the water to its pH levels rather than algae. Read more here

Something is very wrong with the Olympic diving pool. Out of nowhere, it has turned a bilious shade of green, more akin to green Kool-Aid than anything in which the world’s most elite athletes should be swimming.

Though the diving pool was its usual shade of crystalline blue on Monday, attendees and divers woke Tuesday to decidedly emerald-hued waters, sparking the Twitter hashtag #greenpool and a myriad of theories as to what happened.

The pool was tested to make sure the water was safe for the athletes. While it was deemed safe, they were instructed not to open their mouths underwater—just in case.

Today, it was revealed that the color was due to an algae bloom that officials are blaming on the “heat and a lack of wind.” In a statement released to the media, the committee stressed that the water was tested and there was no risk to athletes. It also said the pool should be back to its normal color for today’s events.

Although the green water was considered safe, it did pose an issue for some athletes. According to interviews with several divers, the water was so dark that the bottom of the diving pool was not visible.

You may notice, there are usually water jets or bubbles dispersed across the diving well. Why? The movement causes a disturbance in the water, helping divers more accurately judge their distance (or height) from the surface of the water.

The Chinese duo Chen Ruolin and Liu Huixia said the green water didn’t affect their ability to take gold in the event. Canada team leader Mitch Geller said in an interview with the Associated Press that underwater visibility is very important.