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The value of silver and bronze medals


habsfan1

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Most of the time, or at least what we see during those medal ceremonies, is the agony that is falling short of losing the gold. During the hockey tournaments, the bronze medals winners are always much happier than the silver medal winners, despite coming one spot underneath. The emotions that the players feel in the end go a little something like this:

Gold: Exilarating joy of being an Olympic Champion

Silver: Devastated to have lost gold

Bronze: Happy to have a won a medal

4th Place: Bummed out on missing the podium, but not totally devastated

5th Place - Last Place: Meh, whatever

It's safe to say that the dreaded silver medal is the toughest one to swallow. Even moreso than 4th place, or last place.

I know that any olympic medalist will still be remembered as just that, an olympic medalist. Even if they won't be known as an olympic champion, they are still remembered for something. So I know that those medals serve a purpose. But I'd like to know what's your take on this.

Discuss...

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Most of the time, or at least what we see during those medal ceremonies, is the agony that is falling short of losing the gold. During the hockey tournaments, the bronze medals winners are always much happier than the silver medal winners, despite coming one spot underneath.

That's because they ended the tournament with a win. There are only 2 teams that can do that.

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It's fairly case-by-case. Anyone expected to win the Gold may be less than happy with either silver or bronze. A surprise medalist is probably happy with Bronze or silver. The US had its first female sole luger win a medal...it was bronze and she was ecstatic. But I think she'd have been equally thrilled had she won silver.

It is all very interesting, in that there are so few sports (particularly in America, a Final 4 bid being a notable exception) in which we embrace anything outside of the champion. Here we embrace three, which is only possible due to it being a long-standing tradition established before second place became known as "the first loser." I think it's great.

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I think that silver medalists are, for some odd reason, usually the ones who are usually the most forgotten of the three. Everyone is gonna remember the gold medalist, and the bronze medalist is usually highlighted because they're usually so happy to have won a medal at all.

I for one, would take a gold or bronze medal for the simple fact that I like both of those colors more than silver (plus, I'm allergic to silver, but that's another story entirely). Gold means you've won, and there's something so quirky about bronze. It's very valuable to the person who acquires it, but actual bronze is worth like $3 a pound (for comparison, gold is around $1,000 an OUNCE).

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When I was a kid I thought Silver was the coolest one.

The thing about the Olympics though is that often winners and losers are separated by tenths or hundredths of seconds. For all practical purposes, these people are taking essentially the same amount of time to race around a track or ski down a hill. The technology to measure their time is incredible, but also incredible is how similarly all of the athletes are performing.

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My Dad always taught me, if you aren't on top, you might as well be on the bottom. I wouldn't want to win silver. I wouldn't want to win bronze. It's the same as 76th to me. I want gold. I could be in the minority, especially among kids my age, with the stupid participation trophies. I broke mine, it was fun, and they were actually used for a minute or two, instead of sitting in a shoebox in my closet.

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When I was in school, I was the kid that always wanted to be the best. I preferred half a point above a fail better than 99.5%, because i was happy that I passed, rather than kicking myself for not getting 100%

Mind you, 100% was the best option, obviously.

Gold=amazing

Silver=wish it was gold

Bronze=hey, I got a medal

Fourth=wish I medalled

Fifth=at least I'm not fourth

76th=I wasn't last!

77th=At least I'm at the Olympics, baby!

EDIT: You don't "win" silver, you lose gold.

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My Dad always taught me, if you aren't on top, you might as well be on the bottom. I wouldn't want to win silver. I wouldn't want to win bronze. It's the same as 76th to me.

That's pretty messed up. There's still merit in being the second best luger in the world versus the 76th best luger in the world. Being second or third best out of seven billion people is still a huge accomplishment.

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The whole perception of Silver and Bronze medals can be extrapolated to other sports. Let's imagine there's Team-X, and this team rarely has chances to succeed (equivalent to an Olympian only given every four years to get a medal) but this time, X has a great season only periodically (same as when it's an Olympic year for a hopeful). It heads to the postseason as an underdog and isn't expected to compete for championships.

I'd argue that X would be more appreciative if their postseason run ends early (Bronze) than later (Silver). If a season ends early, X gets takeaways to its success and plan on how to improve for the future, all in a shrew of gratefulness. But if X has a deep run but ultimately fails in a high-stakes round, then the thought of X would be that it had all the right pieces now and couldn't finish the job. Athletes getting Silver, just like teams who finish deep but end their year deep into the postseason with nothing to show for it, will contemplate into what they didn't do for Gold, instead at what they did do for Silver.

Some examples of perennially sucky teams going deep into their rare chances at glory and ultimately losing in the deep run include the late-1980s Browns, 1986 Angels, 2003 Cubs, 1987, 1998 and 2009 Vikings, early-1990s Bills, 1970s Rams and late-2000s Cavaliers.

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My Dad always taught me, if you aren't on top, you might as well be on the bottom. I wouldn't want to win silver. I wouldn't want to win bronze. It's the same as 76th to me.

That's pretty messed up. There's still merit in being the second best luger in the world versus the 76th best luger in the world. Being second or third best out of seven billion people is still a huge accomplishment.

I've never luged, I have no idea where I would even try to luge, and I had back surgery on Monday so it would be some time before I'm even cleared to luge, but I think I'm still in the top 10,000 people in the luge.

When you win a medal in the luge you are not one of the top three of 7 billion, you are one of the top 500 who have ever tried it. Unlike most of the summer Olympics, the winter games are mostly exclusionary, niche, or prohibitive sports for many to participate in.

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My Dad always taught me, if you aren't on top, you might as well be on the bottom. I wouldn't want to win silver. I wouldn't want to win bronze. It's the same as 76th to me.

That's pretty messed up. There's still merit in being the second best luger in the world versus the 76th best luger in the world. Being second or third best out of seven billion people is still a huge accomplishment.

I've never luged, I have no idea where I would even try to luge, and I had back surgery on Monday so it would be some time before I'm even cleared to luge, but I think I'm still in the top 10,000 people in the luge.

When you win a medal in the luge you are not one of the top three of 7 billion, you are one of the top 500 who have ever tried it. Unlike most of the summer Olympics, the winter games are mostly exclusionary, niche, or prohibitive sports for many to participate in.

Point taken, but the sport doesn't really matter that much for the example. You can still be very proud of being the third fastest sprinter in the world.

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Absolutely. In the case of sprinters, or any objectively decided sport that doesn't require you to be well off in order to participate, being in that elite group of medalists is absolutely an accomplishment to be proud of.

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The only satisfying 4th place finish I could think of is when Belarus reached the final 4 in 2002 after stunning Sweden in the previous round. That was a complete shock that year. They didn't have a prayer against Canada or Russia after that.

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Just watched ladies' snowboard cross, Canadian Dominique Maltais was ecstatic with silver. It all depends on the person, I guess. Some will take what they can get, others are only happy with first place. I agree with ninersdd, that if you weren't expected to earn fourth, and you didn't have a snowballs chance in hell at winning anymore, 4th would be satisfying for a lot of people, and I understand that. But I think for me, at least, when I'm the underdog and I almost win, I definitely am not happy.

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I think all three medals have value in the Olympics because of the history and tradition of the event.

This reminds me of how I value sports championships in the North American leagues even though this follows no rhyme or reason:

To me, winning a championship in a collegiate conference (SEC, B1G, etc.), a MLB pennant, or NFL Conference Championship, it's a significant accomplishment regardless of what happens afterwards. These leagues have histories as separate entities.

However, with the NHL/NBA, it's championship or bust, especially in hockey. If I ever had a chance to buy the Blues, the first thing I would do would be to take down all the banners for divisional championships and that stupid President's Trophy banner.

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Person and circumstance has an awful lot to do with it. I have to imagine if someone is a first time Olympian and not an overwhelming favorite to win their event, they would be pretty happy with any medal. But someone who maybe won silver or bronze in the last Olympics might be disappointed that they weren't "improved enough" to win a gold. If you go into an event as a favorite to win gold, you might be disappointed with anything less.

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