One decidedly nerdy Brit is looking to ease the pain of fourth-place finishers by sending them medals.
David Mitchell is a bookshop owner in Cromford, UK, with an affinity for Olympics history. Around the London Games, he came to a conclusion: That the competitions have grown so large, it's only fair that the field of medalists should be expanded as well.
“I remember back in 1960, there were about 84 nations taking part. Now, there are 204. Performance levels have become so much higher. It's so hard now to get a medal,” he told the BBC.
“I thought it's time this increase in the competitiveness in the standards was taken account of.”
So Mitchell is spending his own money to create medals for some athletes who finish fourth, beginning with Waterfield and Daley. They have their names and events on one side; on the other, it says: “In Recognition of your 4th Place Olympic Games 2012.”
Look, the guy’s heart is in the right place and all, but I’d be particularly bummed if some random guy sent me what amounts to a participation ribbon.
“I hope they don't find it insulting. It's meant seriously,” he said, adding that he plans to send medals to select athletes from all nations.
From a psychological standpoint, Mitchell's onto something. A 1995 study found that bronze medal winners, by and large, were more content than silver medal winners, but that fourth-place finishers are crushed with “what might have been.” So now, that stress can be transferred over to those losers in fifth place.
[H/T: Fourth Place Medal (Oh, the irony)]