Every two years, a curious phenomenon appears at the top of Olympic podiums, baffling spectators who think they understand the difference between edible foods and precious metals. We're talking about the celebratory gesture of Olympic medalists biting their winning hardware.
Gold medal winners are the cream of the Olympic crop, so surely they know there's no hygienic benefit to chomping on the most coveted prize in international sports. So why do they do it?
The most obvious answer: photographers love the image of an Olympian teething on their freshly-earned medallion. In 2012, David Wallechinsky, president of the International Society of Olympic Historians, told CNN that it's just an appealing image to photographers:
"I think they look at it as an iconic shot, as something that you can probably sell," he said. "I don't think it's something the athletes would probably do on their own."