Pieces of Russian meteorite to be given to Sochi 2014 gold medal winners on anniversary
Saturday, 01 February 2014
February 1 - Special souvenir gold medals embedded with pieces of the meteorite which spectacularly showered over Russia last year will be given to select Sochi 2014 gold medallists.
The 10 gold medallists at the Olympic Games on February 15 - the anniversary of the Chelyabinsk meteorite - will be given a commemorative medal.
The meteorite, which burst over the Russian city of Chelyabinsk, caused widespread damage and injured more than 1,000 people.
Images of the fireball quickly circulated online as residents across the area captured the spectacular meteor.
The 1.5 metre-long rock from which bits will be embedded into the special medals, was retrieved from Lake Chebarkul, in central Russia.
"Ten of [the medals] will be sent to the Olympic Committees of those countries whose sportsmen win gold medals on February 15, and another 40 will be sent to private collections," the Chelyabinsk Region administration is quoting as saying on its website.
"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," Chelyabinsk Region Culture Minister Aleksey Betekhtin reportedly said.
Gold medals will be handed out in events including the women's super-giant slalom, men's skeleton, men's large hill ski jumping and women's 1,500m short track speed skating on February 15.
The meteor, with an estimated initial mass of about 12,000-13,000 metric tonnes, and measuring between 17 and 20 metres in size, is the largest known natural object to have entered earth's atmosphere for more than 100 years.
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