Olympic gold medals and longevity

Perhaps it is better to win the silver, to which other life outcomes might this apply?:

This paper compares mortality between Gold and Silver medalists in Olympic Track and Field to study how achievement influences health. Contrary to conventional wisdom, winners die over one year earlier than losers. I find strong evidence of differences in earnings and occupational choices as a mechanism. Losers pursued higher-paying occupations than winners according to individual Census records. I find no evidence consistent with selection or risk-taking. How people respond to success or failure in pivotal life events may produce long-lasting consequences for health.

That is from Adam Leive, via the excellent Kevin Lewis.


This seems to be America centered, with the reference to Census records.

One assumes that the difference in life span between the 'expertly' doped gold and silver and bronze medal winners of East Bloc athletes during the Cold War would look considerably different. Though in some areas (discus or weight lighting), one assumes that a shortened life span might be easily seen.

Not suggesting that no American athlete took advantage of whatever performance enhancing chemicals may have been available, but simply that the East Bloc had massive programs starting with young athletes to enhance performance in any way possible, most definitely including at time massive amounts of performance enhancing compounds.

A recent article concerning East Germany - https://www.zeit.de/sport/2018-03/doping-ddr-sport-dopingopfer-kinder-folgen-hilfe-english

Probably the best book on the East German doping of athletes is "Faust's Gold: Inside the East German Doping Machine" by Steven Ungeleider. Most of the athletes were given large doses of PEDs without informed consent which is in violation of all medical norms. A number of the physicians who were complicit in this were tried and sentenced to prison following reunification of Germany.

"in violation of all medical norms": oh do grow up. It clearly wasn't in violation of East German norms.

"tried and sentenced to prison following reunification of Germany": retrospective legislation? That violates blah, blah, blah ...

'It clearly wasn't in violation of East German norms'

You apparently have forgotten how East Bloc countries had a number of laws and regulations forbidding many things that the state routinely engaged in.

'retrospective legislation'

Nope - just a replacement of the Soviet era East German legal system with the West German one. It isn't as if that hasn't happened before, the last time with enthusiastic British help in creating a legal system able to punish Nazis. Whether that counts as retroactive (I assume in the sense of ex post facto laws) legislation is for you to decide. And believe it or not, a certain group of Germans (the Daily Mail is unlikely to ever approve of this group, even if a prince can at least wear their uniform) have a word for your concern - 'Siegerjustiz' or victor's justice.

Personally, I cannot just get that worked up at the idea that people who committed criminal acts as part of a totalitarian regime are really worth much concern in this regard. You are welcome to disagree, though the 'hail victory' salute is not required, nor is wearing a DDR border guard outfit, though a surprisingly large percentage of people with your concern have no problems with such things themselves.

And of course, the 'just following orders' excuse is right out when used by any German government functionary, right?

They were "criminal acts" under the new laws not the old laws. Anyway, punishing people for following "old laws" when there is regime change and hence change in laws, is a bit, well, complicated.

I am not quite sure it was the moral thing to do by punishing doctors who were working under an authoritarian bureaucratic apparatus since they had no freedom to decide to dope the athletes or not. It's like punishing the guy who pushed the button to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima as if he was responsible instead of Truman.

I would also imagine that second place in East Bloc countries was not well rewarded and might have made one's life worse rather than better.

just another nonsense "study". A very narrow, non-random sample of gold/silver winners, with absolutely no way to isolate the gold/silver variable from the dozens/hundreds of other variables affecting mortality and earnings

The paper is built on the assumption that they are similarly elite athletes, and winning the gold or silver is mostly random. This assumption is supported by similar pre-match rankings of the two groups, and likelihood of holding a previous world record, being similar.

It's not above criticism (the sample size is not huge), but I would not reject it as nonsense.

Do you see that final sentence in the abstract? "How people respond to success or failure in pivotal life events may produce long-lasting consequences for health." That wild, untested generalization is a great example of common overreach in human behavior research. The data on gold vs. silver winners may be great and interesting, but the link between Olympic medalists and "people" in general is just assumed. Is there any evidence that Olympic medalists' response to failure in pivotal life events is representative of an average or median person's response to failure in a pivotal life event? If not, why not just focus your paper on the data and quit trying to gin up a broader relevance that isn't there?

Wish I had access to the full text. In addition to the effects of performance enhancing drugs another variable in these studies might be the duration of strenuous physical activity. There is accumulating evidence that in at least some people it can lead to medical morbidity in middle and older age.

Duration of intense activity make be a significant variable in shorter lifespan.

As noted the paper is gated and it is unclear whether the number being studied is high enough to be statistically significant. In addition some Olympic T&F sports are endurance related and some are strength related (the only one that encompasses both is the decathlon and maybe that is the best control study if one is doing this kind of research but those numbers will be very small).

A knowledge of the cross-event mortalities is most important and perhaps the paper addresses that. I still come away with the feeling from reading the abstract that this is 'junk' science.

What's the value in the first few years after winning the gold vs silver, compared to the last year of life that the gold winner misses out on?

Assuming that Olympic training involves many hours of physical training, an athlete in his/her prime is likely to focus on that training, rather than pursue other intellectual pursuits, that might provide a good advantage within the business world.

A Gold-medal award winning athlete (A) is more likely to continue his/her athletic career - both because of hope for continued future successes, fan adoration, celebrity endorsement, etc. An athlete who consistently comes in third or lower (B) is more likely to think "I've given my best, I'm proud of my effort, but perhaps I should move on to something else.

Both A and B athletes know the benefits of hard work, dedication, hearty competition, etc - but B will now have a head start when changing directions, and overall more time to develop his new skills and relationships and rise within an organization.

There might be a 'former child actor' analogy here also - someone who has experienced early fame, expects that to come easily, and becomes disappointed/bitter when that they are relegated back into 'common people' mode again.

Large studies suggest that elite athletes have superior longevity compared to age and sex matched controls. Any difference with gold medal winners is expected statistical variation particularity because the margin for winning is very small in many Olympic sports:



My impression from reading David Wallechinsky's highly entertaining reference book on the Olympics is that former gold medalists tend to get into a lot of car crashes, many of which used to be fatal. For example, Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt smashed up a couple of BMW M3s, one in 2009 and one in 2012. Fortunately, bad driving in less fatal these days.

My guess is that Olympians tend to feel the Need for Speed to an above average extent, and that gold medalists have been more likely to be able to afford a car, especially a fast one, than most of their countrymen.

It could be that Wallenchinsky just has a bias on the subject of car crashes that makes him highlight them, but there's definitely a recurrent theme throughout his "Complete Book of the Olympics" of ex-Olympic heroes dying in automobile accidents.


Jerry Seinfeld did a bit about the Olympics on how bad it is to get the Silver Medal.

He sticks his face out 2 inches to signify the gold medalist out-leaning the silver medalist at the tape and declares: "Greatest guy in the world!"

He pulls his face back 2 inches to signify the silver medalist, shrugs, and says: "Never heard of him."

Gold medalists are much more likely to become Permanent Celebrities, which can have weird effects on your psyche (e.g., a certain decathlon gold medalist). Silver medalists usually then have to get a real job, one into which they can pour their abundant energy and focus.

Who are you "subtweeting" with "certain decathlon gold medalist"? Dan O'Brien? I know him pretty well and talk with him almost weekly, he is a nice and well-adjusted guy, and still a stud athletically.

that's a joke, right?

Congressman Bob Mathias?

What were the weird effects on his psyche?

Bruce Jenner often discussed his intention to never have to have a real job again. He joked that on his deathbed, he intended to hold an auction for Pepsi and Coke over who gets to slap their logo on his coffin.

The USA had its worst showing in 20 years at the last Olympics. If Trump stopped insulting American athletic greatness, America would lead the world once again. Norway, a socialist country, almost doubled the number of medals the US got.

is the study author really defining winning a olympic silver medal in track and field as losing ?

"If you ain't first, you're last."
--Ricky Bobby

we alreadly knew that there are functional and dysfunctional ways to
react to winning and losing. are we to believe that they have quantified that in these in the medal winners- that's a bold claim.
winning-losing in life pretty narrowly measured by 3-4squishy
mucous metrics
and then they assert that a 1 year difference in longevivity is due to the metal in a Olympic medal1 when it is more likely be a stasi statistical pimple.
isn't what they have done here is
incorrectly defined winning and losing and then fed about 5-6 metrics into a apple that found
a 1 year differenced in longevity and created a narrative around it
like a ohenry story?

1 farnam or mebbe farnham

what was that sound?

it looks like you just shot your social credit score
in the nads

сойти с моего газона, который находится на русском языке

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