Posts tagged ‘gold’

2012 Olympic Gold Medals are Mostly Silver

By Chad Upton | Editor

A gold medal has been awarded to the top Olympic athlete in an event since the 1904 St. Louis Summer Olympics. Although this tradition has stuck, many things have changed since the St. Louis games.

I hadn’t planned on writing much about the St. Louis Olympics, but some of the research proved too bizarre to hold back. For starters, the games were supposed to be in Chicago; but, the World Fair organizers in St. Louis promised to hold their own sporting event that would eclipse the Olympic games, unless they were awarded the games. So, the games were awarded to St. Louis.

During the marathon, Frederick Lorz dropped out of the race after nine miles and rode a car back to the start/finish to collect his clothes. But, the car broke down so he had to run the rest of the way. Officials thought he was the first to finish and he went along with it, but was later caught and banned for a year. The following year, he did win the Boston Marathon fair and square.

The actual winner of the marathon, Thomas Hicks, had a bit of help from his trainers who gave him a mix of brandy and strychnine sulfate — a poison which isn’t lethal in small doses and “stimulates” the nervous system. A postman from Cuba, Felix Carbajal, also ran in the marathon. He he snacked on rotten apples in an orchard, took a nap and then finished in fourth place. (more…)

July 25, 2012 at 2:00 am 5 comments

Gold Record Awards Come From the Record Manufacturing Process

By Chad Upton | Editor

When a recording artist sells 500,000 units of an album or a single, their “record” is eligible for “gold certification” by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). There are also platinum, diamond and other levels of these awards that indicate even greater sales.

If you couldn’t tell from the name, the RIAA is a US organization and it only tracks sales in the US. Similar awards are administered in 70 other countries by The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, although the number of sales to achieve each award varies by country.

In 1958, the cast album from the production of Oklahoma! was the first album to receive the official gold record award. Back then, records were records. There were no CDs, MP3s, etc… albums were really only available on vinyl records. Magnetic tapes were not popular for consumer use and 8 Track cartridges were about six years away from creation.

To make vinyl records, an original “master” record is created and depending on the exact process used, the vinyl records are stamped from a master, mother or stamper record.  In those days, these masters/mothers/stampers were generally made from metal. Stampers are used to literally stamp the groves into the records that are distributed. Stampers are generally good for about a thousand uses, so many stampers are produced for popular records. Originally, the used stampers were treated with gold to create the gold record awards.

Today, vinyl records are far from the most popular media for music, but some albums are available on vinyl. Although many albums are not available on vinyl, gold records may still be awarded if they reach their sales goals. The gold records are no longer made from actual records, masters or stampers. They’re now made by specific trophy and plaque makers who are certified by the RIAA.

Today, the award symbolically represents a high number of sales. But originally, it literally represented that many records were sold because the actual production stamper was worn out, gold plated and awarded to the artist.

In the last couple decades, the term “gold master” has transcended the recording industry. The phrase is also used in the computer industry to identify a software product version that is ready for distribution.

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Image: Jim Cassady (cc)

Sources: RIAA, EIL,, Wikipedia (Gold Master), emusician

September 1, 2011 at 2:00 am 2 comments

How Much is the Gold in an Olympic Medal Worth?

By now, I’m sure many of you have caught some of the Vancouver Olympics. I was talking to my mom tonight and she thought it would be a good time for me to write about an Olympics Secret — I couldn’t agree more.

Since I live in the US, I’ve been watching the games on NBC. They’ve done a pretty good job of squeezing the excitement into a few hours of prime-time every night. It would be nice if it was all live, all day but they need to pay the bills. NBC estimates they will lose about $200 million broadcasting these games (the difference between what they paid for the exclusive rights and how much advertising time they can sell during the games).

I think the games have gone over really well, maybe better than NBC expected. I was talking to somebody today who was really surprised by their own excitement for these games. They were surprised because the Winter Olympics don’t always get the same hype and attention the summer games do. (more…)

February 18, 2010 at 2:48 am 3 comments

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