There was this really interesting article in the Sydney Morning Herald called “Seconds count, but all we really want is first” by Richard Hinds that I thought I’d share because it somewhat discusses the psychological effects of getting silver and bronze medals. The theory is that silver medalists generally look a lot more disappointed than bronze medalists because they compare themselves to the winner, believing that they were so close to coming out on top yet that victory simply escaped them. Bronze medalists, on the other hand, compare themselves with the rest of the competition who did not even make it to the podium, and are therefore happier that they even got a medal in the first place.
Australian athletes have been coming under fire by the media and even their coaches for coming up second-best a lot during the 2012 Olympics and being behind New Zealand in the medal count based on the amount of gold medals won so far this year. Even when you are among the best in the world, sometimes barely missing out on the top spot can be the most devastating position of all.