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Mike Pesca: Making A Case For The Silver Medal03:46
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Jazz Carlin of Great Britain was pleased with her silver medal win in the women's 800m freestyle final. (Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Jazz Carlin of Great Britain was pleased with her silver medal win in the women's 800m freestyle final. (Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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The medal mayhem at this summer's Olympics continues in the final weekend of competition. With dozens of bronzes, silvers and golds yet to be handed out, athletes from across the world are still vying for a spot in the history books. The goal for every competitor is to finish first, but there's not as much consensus when it comes to second or third place. Or, at least that's how Olympians have felt over the years, according to Mike Pesca.

"Studies show bronze medalists feel happy to get a medal, but silver medalists regret not winning gold. This is the kind of insight that strikes us as sensible."

This idea originally came from research on the 1992 Olympics. Silver medalists are left wondering what could have been if they did just one better, while bronze medalists are thankful to have finished among the top three.

But Mike Pesca has uncovered some new truths about what makes the difference between a happy silver medalist and a sad one.

"During the entirety of the Rio Games, I've been studying silver and bronze medalists — looking at their faces, analyzing their comportment — and I've found a rule more subtle than just silver is sadder than bronze. I find it depends on the circumstance."

Mike Pesca hosts the daily podcast, The Gist, from Slate and is a panelist on the sports podcast HANG UP AND LISTEN; which posts every Monday. Listen to Pesca’s complete thoughts by clicking the play button below the headline at the top of the page.

This segment aired on August 20, 2016.

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