Meteor medals an extra incentive in Sochi

FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2006 file photo, United States gold medalist Ted Ligety jokes with his medal during the medal ceremony for the Men's Alpine Combined at the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. Ligety won a gold in 2006, choked in 2010, and dominated the 2013 world championships. The Sochi Games begin Feb. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Greg Baker, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2006 file photo, United States gold medalist Ted Ligety jokes with his medal during the medal ceremony for the Men's Alpine Combined at the Turin 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. Ligety won a gold in 2006, choked in 2010, and dominated the 2013 world championships. The Sochi Games begin Feb. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Greg Baker, File)

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — There are gold medals, and there are those of the meteoric kind.

Regional officials in the southern Urals are offering gold medalists on Feb. 15 at the Sochi Olympics an extra commemorative medal embedded with a fragment of the Chelyabinsk meteorite.

The meteor that blazed across the southern Urals last February was the largest recorded strike in more than a century. Russian scientists recovered a giant chuck of the meteor from the bottom of a lake, and pieces of that have been used for the commemorative medals.

The Chelyabinsk government said it had struck 50 medals, which will be unveiled on Monday, and 10 would be issued to the athletes who win finals on the anniversary of the strike. The presentations will not be part of the official Olympic program.

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