Finishing second can be bad for your health
Winning a silver medal at the Olympics causes such crushing disappointment that it takes years off a competitor’s life, according to a new study.
Silver medallists have a life expectancy of between two and four years less than those who get gold or bronze.
Scots rower Katherine Grainger won silver three times before she finally took gold at London 2012. She wept on the podium in Beijing in 2008 and described coming second again as “like a bereavement”.
Now a study by Utrecht University economist Adriaan Kalwij has said he believes winning silver causes deadly stress levels, whereas those who take bronze are just delighted to have achieved a podium place.
He said: “It seems probable that the Olympic credo of ‘it is more important to participate than to win’ fails to reflect most silver medallists’ feelings.”
The study published in the journal Economics and Human Biology examined the mortality rates among every American to win a medal at the Olympic games.
Previous studies have shown that Nobel laureates and Oscar winners, for instance, live longer than those who were nominated but never won.