Olympic gold medalists to get bonus meteorite medal
What is better than placing gold at the Olympics? Placing gold at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia on Saturday (Feb. 15) — because on that day, and that day alone, earning a gold medal also means being awarded a piece of a rock that fell from space.
Saturday marks exactly one year since a small near-Earth asteroid entered the Earth's atmosphere over Russia and exploded over the Chelyabinsk Oblast (region). Regarded as the most widely-witnessed strike in modern history, the Chelyabinsk meteor was also the largest recorded natural object to have fallen from space since 1908.
The space rock broke into hundreds, if not thousands of small fragments, which rained down over the area's snow-covered fields. Over the past year, many fragments of the Chelyabinsk meteorite have been recovered, with some of the pieces heading to labs for study, many landing on the collectors' market, others going to museums and a small set being placed aside for a special set of medallions.
Ten of those medals will be presented to those who place gold at the Sochi 2014 Olympics on the anniversary of the Chelyabinsk meteor fall.