Nine Gold Medals Summary in English by David Roth

Nine Gold Medals Poem Summary in English and Hindi Pdf. Nine Gold Medals Poem is written by David Roth.

Nine Gold Medals Poem Summary in English by David Roth

Nine Gold Medals Poem Summary
Nine Gold Medals Poem Summary

Nine Gold Medals Poem About the Poet

David Roth is a famous American rock vocalist, songwriter, actor and author. Born in 1954, he became a successful solo artist. He is known as the original (1974-1985) and current (2006-present) lead singer of the Southern- California-based hard rock band Van Halen. In 2012, Roth and Van Halen released an album, ‘A Different Kind of Truth’ which was highly acclaimed. In 1997 he wrote a New York Times best selling memoir entitled Crazy from the Heat.

Nine Gold Medals About the Poem

All about the Poem Nine Gold Medals:
‘Nine Gold Medals’ is a poignant record of an incident that takes place at the Special Olympics when differently abled contestants set off for a race. It conveys the message that what values most in life is the sense of sharing other’s pain and sorrow.

‘Nine Gold Medals’ by Roth is one of the most popular inspirational poems. It underlines the idea of empathy and human values. It gives us the message that what values most in life is the sense of sharing other’s pain and sorrow and trying to cheer up and encourage the weak and the fallen. It presents an imaginary situation of a race in which contestants are ready to compete against one another to win a gold medal. When they see a weak contestant fall down they forget the desire to win the race. They all help the weaker contestant and go hand-in-hand to the finishing line. They are all awarded gold medals in appreciation of upholding the true spirit of sports.

Nine Gold Medals Poem Theme

I. Empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand another person’s feelings from his point of view. It means ‘to put yourself in another’s shoes’. It is this human value that is projected through an imaginary situation in David Roth’s poem ‘Nine Gold Medals’. When a weak contestant, unable to run, falls on the track and cries in frustration, the other eight contestants, instead of continuing the race, turn back one by one and come to the help of their fallen companion. Perhaps a look at the fallen contestant forces them to ask : “What would I have felt if I had fallen ?” They realize the anguish of the fallen man, and so they know what they have to do. They all join hands and walk to the finishing line. All are awarded gold medals.

II. True Sportsmanship
Today sports events are highly competitive. As the stakes are very high, the sportspersons are trained to be ruthless in their approach. Their only aim is to win at any cost. They conveniently forget that they are also to uphold the tradition of true sportsmanship, which is, being helpful and cooperative. In the poem, the eight contestants forget the dream of winning the race. They come to help a companion who needs to be lifted up and encouraged. Their true sportsmanship is recognized and rewarded.

Nine Gold Medals Poem Summary in English

The poem ‘Nine Gold Medals’ depicts the participation of differently abled athletes in the ‘Special Olympics’. Such athletes have come from several countries to participate in various sports events. As the international sports event is very prestigious, every participant has put in a lot of preparation and practice. No one wants to spare any pains for winning a medal, gold, silver or bronze.

The poem shows the scene of the last event – the hundred-metre race. The race is about to begin. The spectators are as excited as the participants. The names of the participants are announced. Nine young athletes take their position at the starting blocks. When the signal is given with the pistol fire, they begin to run fast.

One of the participants, the youngest of them, stumbles, staggers and falls on the track. He is more in mental anguish than in physical pain.

He gave out a cry of frustration and anguish
His dreams and his efforts dashed in the dirt.

It is here at this point that something unexpected, something unusual and something surprising happens. The remaining eight contestants stop and look back at the fallen contestant. Instead of continuing the race, they come back to help their fellow contestant. Then they all join hands and walk hand-in-hand to the finishing line. The audience is stunned. Everybody stands up and claps. There are nine winners, instead of one, and each one is awarded a gold medal. This is how the ‘Special Olympics’ becomes a really special one.

Through this imaginary situation the poet wants us to learn to be empathetic. On seeing someone fallen, we should ask ourselves : ‘What would I have felt if I had fallen ?’ This query would lead us to be helpful, cooperative, selfless and generous. Empathy is the foundation of all human values.

Nine Gold Medals Poem Stanza Wise Explanation

Stanza 1
The poem refers to a ‘Special Olympics’ meant for differently abled persons. The athletes from different countries came to participate in various sports events. They were fired with the longing to win a medal, gold, silver or bronze. They knew the competition had to be very tough. So they put in a lot of their time in preparation and training.

Stanza 2
The spectators sitting all around the field were as enthusiastic and excited as the participants were. They cheered up the young athletes in every way. The final event of the day was about to begin. It was the last race, a hundred-metre race.

Stanza 3
The loudspeakers announced the names of the participants of the hundred-metre race. Nine young athletes came forward and stood at the starting line. They were determined to do their best. They were well-poised, waiting for the pistol shot as a starting signal.

Stanza 4
When the signal was given and the pistol shot was heard, the participants moved fast. They ran as fast as they could. However, one contestant who was weaker could not run. His legs gave in and he fell on the track.

Stanza 5
The fallen contestant was distressed beyond imagination. He gave out a cry in frustration because his hard work had come to nothing. His dream had remained a dream. Precisely at that moment, something unexpected and something surprising happened.

Stanza 6
The remaining eight contestants stopped and looked back at their fallen companion. They were expected not to stop but continue the race. But they did what no competitor had ever done. One by one they turned round and came back to the fallen athlete. They lifted him (a mere boy) to his feet. This gesture of theirs was indeed praiseworthy.

Stanza 7
Then all the nine contestants joined hands. They all walked hand-in-hand to the finishing line. The race turned into a ‘walk’. The poet remarks that the words on the banner ‘Special Olympics’ turned out to be true. ‘Special Olympics’ was really a special one.

Stanza 8
The race ended, and each participant was awarded a gold medal. All were thus rewarded for a rare act of empathy :

And the banner above and nine smiling faces
Said more than these words ever will
Said more than these words ever will

Here the poet emphasises the special significance of ‘The Special Olympics’ by revealing the contestants’ rare act of true sportsmanship.

Nine Gold Medals Poem Glossary

Stanzas 1-2
athletes : persons competing in sports
building up : preparing
spectators : persons watching a sports event
cheering : encouraging
event : sports event, (here) one hundred-metre race

Stanzas 3-4 :
poised : balanced
sound of the gun : gun shot as a signal to start an event
exploded : burst with a loud noise
stumbled : tripped
staggered : became unsteady, lost balance

Stanzas 5-6 :
frustration : hopelessness
anguish : mental pain
dashed in the dirt : came to nothing
occurred : happened
tracks : paths
ones : participants
lad : boy

Stanzas 7-8
‘could not… mark’ : proved to be true to its words
the race : (here) one hundred- metre race
‘said….ever will’ : proclaimed more than what words would ever tell

Nine Gold Medals Poem Critical Appreciation

The title of the poem ‘Nine Gold Medals’ is very appropriate and suggestive. It reflects the main theme of the poem. Only one gold medal is generally given to the first winner in a sports event. But in the race described in the poem all the nine participants are awarded nine medals for being so helpful and empathetic. Nine gold medals become symbolic of the victory of human values.

Inspirational Poem
‘Nine Gold Medals’ by Roth is a simple, yet moving lyric. It presents a simple, imaginary situation, and ends on a special note – that true victory lies in being helpful and cooperative. ‘The Special Olympics’ becomes really special.

Then all nine runners joined hands and continued
The one hundred metres reduced to a walk
And the banner above that said “Special Olympics”
Could not have been nearer the mark.

The poet, thus, exhorts us to empathize with those who are below, or inferior to us in any way. We should share their pains and sorrows and cheer them up. We should encourage them to face all hurdles in life boldly and cheerfully. Herein lies the true meaning of sportsmanship.

Nine Gold Medals Poem Style and Literary Devices

‘Nine Gold Medals’ is a simple lyric. It is divided into eight stanzas. Each stanza, with the exception of the last, has four lines. The last stanza has one additional line, which is only repeated to emphasize the message.

Literary Devices

Rhyme Scheme
The poem does not follow a set rhyme scheme. In stanza 1, for instance, there are no end rhymes. In stanza 2, ‘men’ and ‘begin’ is the example of a near rhyme. In stanza 3, ‘run’ and ‘gun’ are the two rhyming words. In stanza 4, the rhyme is abcb. Stanza 5 is without end rhymes. In stanzas 6 and 7 the rhyme is abcb. In the last stanza, with five lines, the rhyming words are ‘still’ and ‘will’ (repeated twice), and near rhyming words, ‘medals’ and ‘faces’.

In order to convey the fact that ‘The Special Olympics’ was really special, the poet uses repetition as a device for emphasis :

  • Said more than these words ever will
  • Said more than these words ever will

This is also an example of the use of ‘inversion’ used for the same purpose.

There is a deft use of alliteration in some lines; as,

  • But the youngest among them stumbled and staggered (sounds, ‘s’ and ‘g’)
  • Then all nine runners joined hands and continued (‘n’ sound)
  • And lifted the lad to his feet (sounds, ‘t’ and ‘d’)
  • His dreams and his efforts dashed in the dirt (‘d’ sound)
  • They came to the finish line holding hands still (‘h’ sound)

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