Medals continue to be awarded at the London Olympic games, and countries like the United States, Great Britain and Italy are doing well. Unfortunately, these and many other recession-stricken nations have been performing better on the field and at the gym than in the global market, and athletes now often view their medals as commodities rather than honors.

As if on cue, Cash for Olympic Gold stores and kiosks have suddenly begun to appear within 50 feet of every podium in the city.

“These athletes, they’re sick of the recession, too,” said store owner Sal Smith. “Why hang your gold on a wall when you can get dinner and a new pair of shoes? You gonna forget you won? Write it down!”

London and the IOC have taken steps to persuade the athletes to keep their awards. Now, upon presenting a gold medal, athletes are automatically awarded citywide upgrades such as extra chips with any order of fish, two free drink tickets at area hotels and complimentary front-row seats at any of the Olympics’ many popular boating events.

This has helped little.

“We must act fast,” said Sandra Izbasa, a gold medal winner from poverty-stricken Romania. “This gold will be losing value for each second off the podium. Also, would you like to purchase a flag?”

Bandwagon Dan