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Meteorite medals to be presented to gold winning Olympians Saturday

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Andrea Bagley
Digital Reporter

Friday, February 14, 2014, 1:16 PM -

It doesn't get much better than this.

On Saturday, February 15, Olympians that earn a gold medal will also be awarded with a piece of space history.

February 15 marks the first anniversary since a small near-Earth asteroid exploded over Russia's Chelyabinsk region.

The meteor entered the Earth's atmosphere at the speed of over 50,000 km/h and shattered about 30-50 km above the ground.

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Hundreds of people were injured after the explosion, most from broken glass.

"At those velocities, the stone had a lot of pressure on it, which is what caused it to explode ... and resulted in a large sonic boom," said astronomer Andrew Fazekas.

Several amateur videos showed an object speeding across the sky leaving a thick white vapor trail and intense flash.

Over the past year, many fragments of the meteorite have been recovered with a small amount reserved for a special set of medallions.

According to space.com, ten of those medals will be presented to those who place gold at the Sochi 2014 Olympics on the anniversary of the Chelyabinsk meteor fall.

"We will hand out our medals to all the athletes who will win gold on that day [Feb. 15], because both the meteorite strike and the Olympic Games are global events," said Alexei Betekhtin, culture minister for the Chelyabinsk region, in a statement.

The meteorite medals will be presented separately and not part of the traditional podium ceremony, says space.com.

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