Having press credentials at the Olympics has great advantages: great shooting positions at the events, a dedicated bus system, separate lanes on the highways, food stands with no lines...but I also found another advantage to having this credential. I could go to the Royal Canadian Mint, which was only 4 blocks from the Main Press Center, and get a chance to hold a Gold Medal. The general public also had the opportunity to hold this medal, but the line was 7 hours - yes I said 7 hours long!
The mint had a separate room for the press where I could go in, put on the special gloves, and hold the much coveted piece.
People have asked me if it is heavy, and it is a solid piece of metal and does weigh a fair bit. They tell me that each piece is unique, since they are created by hand, by just one person.
I asked my friend (who I took in with me as my "assistant") to take this picture of me holding the Gold Medal. I initially held the coin dead center to my body and the mint official stopped us from taking the picture. They did not want anyone taking a picture with the medal, looking like it was draped around my neck. They explained that I could alter the image and remove my hands from the image and make it look like I was wearing it as an athlete. Of course, I could do this anyways, but I thought that it was interesting.