ChapterNine Gold Medals

The poem ‘Nine Gold Medals’ by David Roth narrates the story of true sportsmanship during the Special Olympics. It talks about an incredible act of unity and compassion among athletes.

Meet the Author

  • David Roth is a renowned poet and singer-songwriter known for his emotive storytelling and deep connection with human experiences.
  • Best Known for: David Roth an American artist best known as the iconic lead singer of the hard rock band Van Halen.
Special Olympics
Special Olympics

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Summary of the Chapter

“Nine Gold Medals“ by David Roth opens with the setting of the Special Olympics, where athletes with disabilities are poised to compete in a 100-metre dash. The atmosphere is charged with excitement and anticipation as these competitors, each with their unique challenges, prepare to showcase their abilities. The poem vividly captures the essence of the event.

The loudspeakers called out the names of the runners
The one hundred metres the race to be run
And nine young athletes stood there determined
And poised for the sound of the gun.

As the race begins, an unexpected incident occurs: the youngest athlete in the race stumbles and falls. This moment becomes a turning point in the poem, shifting the focus from individual achievement to collective empathy. The other athletes, upon noticing their fellow competitor in distress, make a unanimous decision. They all stop running and go back to help the fallen athlete, displaying a remarkable sense of solidarity and compassion.

One by one they all turned around and went back to help him
And brought the young boy to his feet.

The concluding part of the poem illustrates the athletes' joint decision to walk hand-in-hand with the fallen competitor, crossing the finish line together. This powerful gesture transcends the conventional notion of winning and losing. It emphasises the greater values of empathy, unity, and human connection.

Runners helping out to finish line
Runners helping out to finish line

Roth's narrative concludes with a heartwarming scene of all nine athletes finishing the race as equals, symbolising that in this act of kindness, they are all champions, embodying the true spirit of the Special Olympics.

The poem uses a narrative technique to recount the Special Olympics event, emphasising compassion and sportsmanship. It lacks a strict rhyme scheme but maintains a rhythmic flow that enhances its storytelling impact. The poem employs alliteration:

But the youngest among them stumbled and staggered

His dreams and his efforts dashed in the dirt

The poem illustrates how empathy leads to positive behaviour and decisions that benefit everyone without causing harm, and it highlights the universal admiration for empathetic actions. This narrative reinforces the idea that empathy is essential for enriching our relationships and resolving conflicts, making it a valuable trait in all aspects of life.

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Special Olympics

Special Olympics is a global initiative offering year-round sports training and competitions in over 20 Olympic-style sports for individuals aged eight and older with intellectual disabilities. Established in 1968 and officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee in 1988, it promotes inclusivity, empowerment, and physical fitness. The international headquarters are located in Washington, D.C.

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Nine Gold Medals Questions and Answers

Below are a few questions that you can look out for your examinations and class tests. Stand out with perfectly written answers with help of Aneetta Class.

The poem beautifully illustrates how the athletes come together in a critical moment, displaying profound empathy. The poem emphasises that the spirit of competition isn't about winning or losing, but about how participants respect and treat each other.

David Roth, through “Nine Gold Medals,“ communicates that the essence of victory lies not in the triumph of an individual but in the shared empathy and unity amongst competitors.

It reflects the true essence of the Special Olympics, emphasising that the spirit of these games is rooted in empathy, inclusivity, and mutual respect. Their actions demonstrate a commitment to humanity that goes beyond the pursuit of personal glory.