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Fourth-Place Medal

Sochi Mysteries Solved: Where do they get extra medals in case of ties?

Jay Busbee
Fourth-Place Medal

The Sochi Olympics can be confusing to fans who only check out the Games every four years. That's why we're here. Got a question about Sochi, a specific event, or the Olympics in general? Email us right here and you could see your question in this space in the coming days.

Where do they get an extra medal in the case of ties?

Wednesday brought one of the more intriguing moments of the Sochi Games to date: a dead-heat tie for the gold medal in the women's downhill race. As Tina Maze of Slovenia and Switzerland's Dominique Gisin stood together on the top of the podium following their event, no one occupied the silver medal spot. Switzerland's Lara Gut won bronze. And that led to two obvious questions: where do they get another gold medal, and what do they do with the leftover silver one?

 Excellent questions. The Wall Street Journal addressed both, and the answer is both simpler and more complex than you'd expect.

First off, whipping up a new medal isn't as simple as heading down to the local engraver at the mall. Creating a medal, which has a clear insert and intricate engraving, involves 25 steps that take an estimated 18 hours to complete. So Adamas, the Russian jewelry company tasked with creating the medals, brought 46 extra blank medals to the Games.

 Even so, the engraving process for the specific event takes considerable time. Winners at the Games are being presented with their medals at a special ceremony in the Olympic Village, and the second gold will be ready for that presentation.

As for the extra medals? Forget it. You're not getting your hands on them. However many of the 45 are remaining, plus the unclaimed silver from the women's downhill, will go into a vault in the IOC's headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. They'll be good company for other unclaimed medals, like the United States' men's basketball silver medals from 1972.

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Jay Busbee is a contributor for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at jay.busbee@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter.

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