Unexpected benefits of coming second in competition

According to a study by American scientists, the people who come second in sports competitions are not necessarily the losers but those who benefit the most from health and quality of life factors later on.

Winning is something everyone wants, but of course, we can’t always achieve it easily, especially in sports in general and Olympic sports in particular.

Finishing in second place may seem like a failure for those who aspire to the most glorious peak, but in fact, finishing second also brings significant benefits.

Unexpected benefits of coming second in competition
Silver medalists tend to outlive gold medalists by at least a year.

In a study by scientists at the University of Virginia, USA, they analyzed and compared the life expectancy of gold and silver medalists in matches from the 1896 to 1948 Olympics.

The results were surprising when the team found that silver medalists tended to live longer than gold medalists by at least a year. The results show that, by the age of 80, about half of silver medalists are still alive, while those who have won gold medals are only a third.

In the study, athletes who won Olympic gold and silver medals showed no difference in age, height or body shape. Their biggest and most important difference is their income and career choice.

In other words, how people react to success or failure in each of their major life events can have lasting effects on their health. Silver medalists seem to have better lives, earn more money, which correlates with a longer life expectancy.

Leive’s census data shows that second-place finishers tend to seek higher-paying careers than first-placers.

Unexpected benefits of coming second in competition
Sometimes finishing second is not necessarily a sad ending for a professional athlete.

According to Quartz, about 70 percent of silver medal winners have become rich. This figure is only 20% of gold medal winners. Leive also found similar results in those who finished third or fourth.

It is worth mentioning that for decades before 1948, Olympic athletes were only amateur athletes. Then it was not until 1980 that professional athletes had the opportunity to participate in the Olympics. Up to now, winning a gold medal is no longer considered a way to financially cover but has become the goal, honor and pride of an athlete.

The exact reason why Olympic athletes were later paid more is still an unanswered question. There is a theory that winners often choose a risky lifestyle after being crowned. They bear the heavy burden of having to stay in shape and stay on top of glory for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, the study still has certain limitations. Leive has not been able to analyze whether any gold medal winners have abused alcohol or drugs too much.

One takeaway from this study, however, is that events occurring in an individual’s life can affect their health and well-being in the long run. While people still say it’s funny, money can’t buy happiness, but obviously, with money, the quality of life and longevity will be significantly improved.