The eight other runners pulled up on their heels
The ones who had trained for so long to complete
one by one they all turned around and went back to help him
And brought the young boy to his feet.
Then all the nine runners joined hands and continued
The hundred-yard dash now reduced to a walk
And a banner above that said (Special Olympics)
Could not have been more on the mark.
That's how the race ended, with nine gold medals
They came to the finish line holding hands still
And a standing ovation and nine beaming faces
Said more than these words ever will.
Read the lines given above and answer the following question:
Explain with reference to context.
These lines are from the poem ‘Nine Gold Medals by David Roth. The poem sends the message that sports are not only about medals but also about learning the values of cooperation, sharing, competing and complementing. In this poem ‘Nine Gold Medals’, the poet, David Roth has presented the idea of empathy and how human values are as important as the spirit of competition. The poem presents the situation of a race, where the contestants leave aside their desire to win the medal to help a smaller and weaker contestant. They all go hand-in-hand to the finishing line.
When the remaining eight contestants saw him fall, they, instead of continuing the race, came to the help their fellow contestant. All the athletes had dreamt of winning the medal. However, they readily forgot their dream and came forward to help the boy to his feet. Then all the nine contestants walked hand-in-hand to the finish line. ‘Hie audience was so moved by the exemplary behavior of the contestants that it stood up and clapped.
There were now nine winners, instead of one, and each was given a gold medal. All the contestants displayed empathy turning the Special Olympics into a really ‘special’ one.
Empathy is the capacity to understand another person’s experience from his point of view. Simply stated, empathy is the ability to ‘put oneself in another’s shoes’. That is exactly what the eight contestants had done. One look at the fallen contestant had forced them to think ‘what would I have felt if I had fallen?’ and they knew exactly what they had to do.
By awarding gold medals to all nine contestants, the authorities honoured their display of empathy, helpful nature and human values.