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Monday, February 3, 2014

Chelyabinsk Meteor Fragments Given to 2014 Sochi Gold Medalists

Olympic athletes who win the gold at Sochi on February 15th are in for a special treat -- a medal containing meteorite pieces from the Chelyabinsk meteor, which streamed across the Russian sky on February 15, 2013. The meteor is believed to have been the largest natural object to enter the atmosphere and ultimately fragment and crash into the Earth as meteorites since the 1908 Tunguska event struck Siberia. Gold medal winners on February 15th will get the regular gold medals, plus the 10 athletes will be awarded special commemorative medals with a piece of meteorite embedded in their centers. The Chelyabinsk meteor produced chondrite meteorites that contain 10% iron. The medals holding the meteorite fragment have been crafted of gold and silver.

Fifty of the medals have been made, with the other 40 going to private collections. According to Chelyabinsk Region Culture Minister Aleksey Betekhtin, "We will hand out our medals to all the athletes who will win gold on that day [February 15], because both the meteorite strike and the Olympic Games are global events."

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