The Olympic committee has urged athletes to stop biting their medals after it became a familiar sight on the Olympic podium.
After their sporting triumphs, athletes take to the Olympic podium for their medal ceremonies. While up there, we frequently see them posing alongside their medals, but there's one pose in particular that people are finding a little odd... The tendency to bite their medals.
And it's a habit that has led to a huge discussion on social media.
"Anybody else with fillings cringe every time they see an Olympian bite their medal?" one person asked on Twitter.
"Why does everyone bite their gold medal? I'd do the magic trick when you pull it from someone's ear," tweeted another.
"One of these days an Olympian is going to bite their gold medal and find out it's made of chocolate," said a third person.
"I bet every Olympian thinks they're not gonna do the "bite the medal" photo gag and then it just kinda happens," another added.
And it's not just social media users that its got talking, it's also sparked a reminder from the Tokyo 2020 organising committee who urged the athletes to stop biting their medals.
"We just want to officially confirm that the #Tokyo2020 medals are not edible," the official Tokyo 2020 Twitter account wrote on Sunday.
"Our medals are made from material recycled from electronic devices donated by the Japanese public. So, you don't have to bite them ... but we know you still will."
We just want to officially confirm that the #Tokyo2020 medals are not edible!
Our 🥇🥈🥉 medals are made from material recycled from electronic devices donated by the Japanese public.
So, you don't have to bite them... but we know you still will 😛 #UnitedByEmotion
— #Tokyo2020 (@Tokyo2020) July 25, 2021
So, why do athletes bite their medals?
Well, as per the Independent, people would traditionally check the purity of gold by biting into it as the metal is soft and malleable, and teeth marks will leave an imprint.
However, in more recent years it seems the pose is just a display for the photographers.
Olympic historian, David Wallechinsky, explained to CNN that is viewed as an "iconic shot."
"It's become an obsession with the photographers," he said. "I think they look at it as an iconic shot, as something that you can probably sell. I don't think it's something the athletes would probably do on their own."
Among those who have taken to the podium to pose while biting their medal are Anastasija Zolotic, who won gold in the 57kg taekwondo and Ryan Murphy, who won first place in the Men's 100m Backstroke Final.