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An Olympic athlete who won gold at this year’s Tokyo Games has shared pictures of her medal that she says show a small section has started to peel off.
Chinese star Zhu Xueying, who won the trampoline gymnastics event, put images on social media site Weibo that appear to show parts of it coming away on the top left-hand side.
She wrote alongside the photos: "#olympic-medal Was your medal… peeling off like this?"
After the picture went viral, Zhu posted a video explaining she had noticed a “small mark” that she initially thought to be a bit of dirt but said the mark got bigger when she picked up the medal.
She said the surface layer was peeling off and that she had posted the pictures to see “if any other athlete experienced the same thing”.
Zhu said she hadn't expected her post to go viral – and that she was not expecting a replacement.
The Organising Committee of the Tokyo Olympic Games told the Global Times that the part of the medal that came off was a protective coating applied to the surface of the medal – and not the gold plating itself.
They added: ”It does not affect the quality of the medal itself.”
The International Olympic Committee keeps moulds of all of the medal designs from the Games and will replace them if necessary – but winners will have to pay a fee for a new one.
The Tokyo 2020 medals were an environmentally friendly experiment, and were made from recycled metals extracted from electronic devices, including mobile phones.
But people responding to Zhu's post said that Olympians “deserve something more valuable”.
Despite Zhu's experience, Japan Mint, the medal maker for the Tokyo Games, told the Global Times it had not noticed any issues regarding layers peeling off gold medals.
It added that the Tokyo organising committee may conduct a further investigation into the incident.
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