IT’S been four days, but Filipinos are still in euphoria after weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz won the first ever Olympic gold medal for our country. Did you know that Hidilyn’s gold medal, and all the 2020 Tokyo Olympic medals for that matter, were made from recycled metals? Yes, they were sourced from discarded electronic waste, or E-waste. This is one of the actions undertaken by the organizers to make the 2020 Olympics environment friendly.

The collection of discarded electronic devices for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals was made between April 2017 and March 2019. All the precious metals required to manufacture the approximately 5,000 gold, silver and bronze medals were extracted from small electronic devices contributed by people from all over Japan.

Approximately 78,985 tons of used small electronic devices were collected by municipal authorities across Japan. Donation boxes were placed in post offices and on street corners all over the country. Another 6.21 million used mobile phones were collected by NTT Docomo, the predominant mobile phone operator in Japan, in their shops across the country. From these E-wastes, approximately 32 kilograms (kgs) of gold, 3,500 kgs of Silver and 2,200 kgs of bronze were extracted.

The use of recycled metals for Olympic medals however is not new. In the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, 30% of the sterling silver to make the gold and silver medals was obtained from recycled materials such as car parts and mirror surfaces.

Many are wondering if the Olympic gold medal is really made of solid gold. The answer is no. The International Olympic Committee mandates that the Gold medals "must be gilded with at least 6 grams of gold". That means it contains only 1.34% of gold, and the rest is silver. At the Tokyo Olympics, the gold medal has 6 grams of gold and 550 grams of silver, which is valued at less than a thousand US dollars.

The medal is not worth much, but in the case of Hidilyn Diaz, she really struck gold! She is a millionaire many times over. As per Republic Act No. 10699 or the National Athletes and Coaches Benefits and Incentives Act, she will get a P10 million prize for being a gold medalist. President Duterte will also give P 3 million out of his own pocket.

Our cabalen Manny V. Pangilinan and San Miguel’s Ramon S. Ang have also reportedly pledged P10 million each. Deputy Speaker of the House Mikee Romero has committed P3 million and Dennis Uy of Phoenix Petroleum will give 5 million. Zamboanga City, Hidilyn’s hometown, will also reportedly give an additional P2.5 million. That’s a whopping P43.5 million as of this writing!

In addition to the cash windfall, she will also get a house and a lot in Tagaytay City courtesy of Philippine Olympic Committee President Abraham Tolentino, and a residential condominium unit in Eastwood City worth 14 million from Megaworld’s Andrew Tan.

Congratulations Hidilyn. Thank you for bringing honor to the Philippines.