Did you ever wonder why Olympic champions bite their medals?
The tradition started at the 1956 Melbourne Summer Games. John “Dopey” Magillis had just won gold for the United States in the 400m hurdles in what had been one of the closest races in modern Olympic history. While making his way to the podium to collect his medal, Magillis dopily ran into Ivan Trelnikov, his Soviet rival whom he had just defeated by fractions of a second in their race.
As they stood waiting for the raising of the flags, Magillis leaned over and dopily said, “Uh, sorry I ran into you back there” to the silver medalist. Trelnikov, disappointed and bitter over falling short in the hotly contested race, replied using what little English he knew, saying “You can bite me” while staring at his medal in disbelief, never making eye contact with his American rival.
Magillis, seeing Trelnikov staring at his medal and dopily thinking he had said “You can bite these”, proceeded to grab his medal and chomp down on it right as “The Star Spangled Banner” started playing over the arena’s sound system…and biting medals has been an Olympic tradition ever since, thanks to a dopey American and a disappointed Soviet!
This has been MADE UP MOMENTS IN OLYMPIC HISTORY. We hope you’ve learned some misinformation you’ll be able to quote at parties or among friends, just to confuse everyone.