Japanese softball pitcher Miu Goto will have her Olympic gold medal replaced after the mayor of her hometown bit into it without her permission.
Bit gold medal without permission
Takashi Kawamura, mayor of Japanese city Nagoya, was seen pulling his face mask down and biting the medal after Goto placed it around his neck.
Here's a video of the incident, which was broadcasted live on television:
The mayor's actions were heavily criticised on social media. Many deemed it disrespectful and unhygienic.
According to BBC, the term "germ medal" trended on social media in Japan.
Kawamura had also apparently flouted Covid-19 protocols in the country, as reported by Yahoo.
Following his actions, Nagoya City Hall received over 8,000 complaints, according to CNN.
Car manufacturer Toyota, which owns the softball team that Goto plays for, also issued a rebuke, reported Reuters:
"It is unfortunate that [Kawamura] was unable to feel admiration and respect for the athlete...And it is extremely regrettable that he was unable to give consideration to infection prevention."
Gold medal will be replaced
Tokyo 2020 organisers later stated that Goto will have her gold medal replaced with a fresh one, Reuters reported.
Kawamura has since apologised for the incident and offered to pay for the medal replacement with his own money.
But BBC reported that the International Olympic Committee will cover the costs of the replacement.
Although biting medals is a familiar sight at the Olympic games, it is usually done by athletes.
This used to be done to check if a medal was made of pure gold. Gold is a soft metal and biting on it leaves a mark.
However, this doesn't apply to gold medals awarded at the Olympic Games now since the International Olympic Committee stopped awarding pure gold medals in 1912.
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Top image screenshots from Nippon TV News 24 Japan/YouTube.