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Silver medals and the benefits of being second

A disappointing silver medal

This week an American athlete twittered that getting coming second just meant that you were the best of the losers. It is easy to understand his disappointment. Most silver medalists will have begun their completion thinking that they had a realistic chance of walking away with gold. Their emotions will have no doubt been mixed as they stood listening to the national anthem of another nation.  

From Victoria Komova of Russia (Gymnastics) to India’s Vijay Kumar (Shooting) to Ryosuke Irie of Japan (Swimming), there was a certain air of sadness as they received their silver reward for all those years of work. Even Michael Phelps had a glum look after he received his silver medal in Men’s 200m Butterfly (despite being the Olympic’s most successful competitor). The Australian press is currently lamenting the poor performance of the nation despite having won 12 silver medals (but only two gold).

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