Gallery: Olympic Athletes Biting Their Medals

Nobody really knows why Olympic winners feel compelled to bite their medals. The easy answer: it’s a gag based on testing the medal for the authenticity of the precious metals allegedly contained therein. In its usual approach to methodical buzzkill, Slate once explained how this was not a practical way to determine whether or not your medal is really gold, silver, or bronze. And unsurprisingly, Yahoo Answers has no better answer either. David Moeller, a silver medalist luger from Germany, found out to his sorrow that the joke isn’t that funny when you actually break a tooth doing it. In truth, the medal-biting is just an allegedly comical bit enforced by the media, as they urge medalists to repeat the pose again and again. Why, even Johnny Weir does it! After the jump, enjoy a visual journey through years of mandibular athleticism.

image Mr. Weir, doing the “fierce” thing he do so well.

image Impressive unhinged jaw. This man is not just a simple sportsman.

image No rude biting here; instead, a gentle tongue caress.

image Michael Phelps is … sticking his medal in his nose instead? Giving it a good sniff? Not sure exactly.

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