Why Paralympians listen to their medals

Gold medalist Mary Fisher of New Zealand listens to the sound of the medal on the podium. Photo / Getty Images
Gold medalist Mary Fisher of New Zealand listens to the sound of the medal on the podium. Photo / Getty Images

It will be one of the enduring images of the Paralympic Games in Rio.

Elated athletes have been holding their medals to their ears, getting the truest sense of what glory sounds like.

As athletes, including Australia's Ellie Cole pictured above, have experienced, a simple shake of the medal delivers a subtle difference in sound for gold, silver and bronze medallists.

The medals have small steel balls inside them, and make different sounds for every colour.

Gold makes the loudest sound because they have 28 balls inside them. Silver has 20 and bronze 16.

Paralympics have traditionally had braille on them but this is the first time the medals can be heard.

A medal like no other! These Paralympic winners are listening to their medals! For the first time ever, the Paralympic Games have placed a device inside the medals that use tiny steel balls to make a sound when they are shaken, allowing visually impaired athletes to identify which type they are.

The bronze medals have 16 steel balls and make the lowest sound. The silver ones have 20 balls and the golds have 28, producing the loudest noise. All of the medals also have the words 'Rio 2016 Paralympic Games' written on them in Braille. Awesome! @rio2016 @paralympics

A photo posted by The Olympic Games (@olympics) on

- news.com.au

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