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Some Sochi Olympic champions will receive meteorite medals

Jul 24, 2013, 1:26 PM EDT

Sochi medals Reuters

Olympic gold-medal winners in Sochi on Feb. 15 will earn another prize: an extra medal with a piece of the meteorite that struck the Russian city of Chelyabinsk on the same date this year.

Chunks of the meteorite that hit the Ural Mountains region will be “chipped off and inserted into the medals,” according to Chelyabinsk Region Culture Minister Alexei Betekhtin in a statement.

“We will hand out our medals to all the athletes who will win gold on that day, because both the meteorite strike and the Olympic Games are the global events,” Betekhtin said, according to R-Sport.

Five months ago, a bus-sized meteor exploded with the force of 20 atomic bombs across western Siberia, injuring more than 1,000 people around the city of one million, according to The Associated Press.

It also damaged many buildings, including a speedskating arena used during the World Cup season.

So, which athletes could receive these special medals?

Seven medal events will be contested on Feb. 15 among Alpine skiing (women’s super-G), cross-country skiing (women’s 4×5-kilometer relay), short-track speedskating (women’s 1,000 meters and men’s 1,500), skeleton (men), ski jumping (men’s large hill) and speedskating (men’s 1,500).

Two decorated Americans have a chance at meteorite medals. Lindsey Vonn is the reigning Olympic bronze medalist in the women’s super-G. U.S. speedskater Shani Davis is the reigning Olympic silver medalist and world silver medalist in the 1,500.

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