William Shakespeare coined the adage "all that glitters is not gold" back in the 16th century, and that may ring true for Chinese Olympian Zhu Xueying more than 500 years later. Xueying, who earned gold in trampoline gymnastics during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, posted photos to social media of her medal peeling off on the upper left-hand side.
"Let me clarify this… I didn't mean to peel the thing off at first, I just discovered that there was a small mark (like pic one) on my medal," Xueying wrote on the social-media website Sina Weibo, per the Global Times. "I thought that it was probably just dirt, so I rubbed it with my finger and found that nothing changed, so then I picked at it and the mark got bigger."
The Tokyo Olympic Games' Organizing Committee offered a rebuttal to the "quality" issue Xueying posed, telling the Global Times the material coming off the gymnast's medal was its protective coating instead of the actual gold plating. This coating is intended to protect the medals from stains and scratches and "does not affect the quality of the medal itself," the Committee added.
Medals awarded during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics contained metal from Japanese citizens' recycled electronic devices, an experimental practice comparable to the Jade-inlaid medals from the 2008 Beijing Games.
Should Xueying need a replacement medal, she's in luck. The IOC keeps molds of all the Games' medal designs and offers replacements to Olympic winners for a fee. That foresight came in handy earlier this month when Japanese mayor Takashi Kawamura bit into the gold medal of softball pitcher Miu Goto, and -- after receiving over 8,000 complaints -- offered to pay for a replacement
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics' medal maker, Japan Mint, told the Global Times it has yet to find any problems with gold-medal peeling. Still, it said the Tokyo Organizing Committee may open an investigation into the matter.