Fin­ish­ing sec­ond can be bad for your health

The Sunday Post (Inverness) - - NEWS -

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.

Kather­ine Grainger

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