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Organizing committee will replace faulty Pan Am Games medals that lose colour

A man makes his way around venues at the site of the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, Oct. 12, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Athletes whose 2011 Pan-American Games medals have lost their colour will get replacements as soon as possible, the event’s organizing committee said Sunday.

“COPAG will inform the Olympic Committees that took part in this sporting event of the situation, so that any medal that shows any defect can be returned immediately,” the organizers of the Guadalajara-based games said in a statement.

The Mexican National Mint (Casa de Moneda), which was responsible for producing the medals, acknowledged there were some defects, particularly in the bronze medals.

In a statement, the Mint said the medals had been forged using a copper base and covered with gold, silver or copper, as had been requested.

“Particularly the copper, a metal that was used to cover the bronze medals, is highly susceptible to oxidation,” the statement acknowledged, adding that the gongs should not be polished or exposed to solvents.

“(The Mint) will attend as soon as possible to the replacement of the bronze medals that present the reported discolouration problem,” the statement said.

The problems with the medals is a final embarrassment for the Guadalajara games, which were dogged with construction delays and political infighting in the run-up to the event.

Mexican newspaper Reforma said Saturday that at least 17 Mexican athletes had complained, while some Brazilian competitors had also reported problems.

Discus thrower Ronaldo Juliao and squash player Rafael Alarcon told Brazilian website Globoesporte.com that their bronze medals had started to deteriorate soon after returning from the games in October.