Image: Reuters

Today and tonight, during final-event leaps, heaves and sprints in the hurdles, pole vault, and gym, athletes will be competing for, living and dying for … silver.

Not second place, mind you. But, technically, as the winners’ national anthems ring out this evening, each grinning champion will be wearing, nuzzling or even kissing carefully dressed-up medallions made almost completely out of sterling silver.

Those cherished, sacrifice-four-years-of-your-life-to-achieve, historic golds? Oh, there’s gold on there — as a thin plating meant to cloak the 92.5 percent of the first-place prize that’s comprised of silver.

More from Bill Briggs, NBC News

Posted by Libergirl