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How much is an Olympic gold medal worth? A lot less than you think

Winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics: priceless. Cost of the actual medal: $810.

TOKYO, Japan — Editor's Note: The video in the player above is from opening week of the Tokyo Olympics.

Winning an Olympic gold medal can be priceless for athletes competing on the world's biggest stage, but the medal's actual cost might surprise you.

First off, the 556-gram medal costs less than you think because it isn't entirely made of gold and hasn't been for more than a century. According to Olympic records, the only time gold medals were purely made of gold was during the St. Louis games in 1904 and the London games in 1908.

Turns out only six grams are comprised of gold plating with the rest being made up of pure silver, meaning about only one percent of the medal is actually made up of the material it is named after.

As of July 29, gold was priced at $1,831 per ounce and silver was priced at $25.78 per ounce, according to Markets Insider and Monex.com. Under that calculation, an Olympic gold medal is approximately worth a whopping $810.

That means, right now, your MacBook Pro, the cheapest Rolex and a flight to Tokyo costs more than the top prize handed out at the Olympics.

So, then how do Olympians get paid?

According to the U.S. Olympic Committee, the big bucks come from the "Operation Gold" rewards which are payments to athletes that medal at the games.

Anyone taking a bite out of their gold medal in celebration gets $37,500 added to their pocket, per medal. Those who finish with a silver medal earn $22,500 and bronze medals fall in line with a $15,000 payment.

The medals at the Tokyo Olympics are also unique in the sense that they're comprised of medals collected from small electronic devices. The city put the call out to the public and received around 78,985 tons of used devices to help create 5,000 medals.

"Every single medal to be awarded to athletes during the Tokyo 2020 Games is made from recycled metals," the Tokyo Medal Project's website reads.

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