Please explain me nine gold medals poem line by line including figures of speech

Please explain me nine gold medals poem line by line including figures of speech

“Nine Gold Medals” is a poem written by the American rock vocalist, songwriter and author David Roth. It celebrates human values of cooperation, compassion, empathy, fairness and concern. This poem reveals the story of nine differently-abled athletes who participated in a Special Olympics. Nine special runners had trained themselves to for the racing event with the hope of winning the gold medal. However, as the race begun, the youngest runner tripped and fell on the ground which made all the other athletes stop to help him without any hesitation. In life, we often prioritize competitions and focus on winning them at any cost irrespective of what comes our way. However, there are even bigger things in life than just winning a competition. This poem emphasizes on the sportsmanship and kindness exhibited by these athletes that made them win a gold medal each for their exemplary behaviour.

The poem is written much like a story in a very simple language and to some extent, based on a true account. Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organization for people with disabilities that focuses on developing the qualities of sportsmanship, self-confidence and team spirit in the individuals. According to some folks at the Special Olympics Washington office, this incident happened in the 1976 track-and-field event held at Spokane, Washington when one of the athletes did actually fall down seeing which two or three other participants stopped to lift him up and eventually finished the race together. However, everyone participating in the race didn’t turn back. This does not, however, change the message that the poem gives us as the spirit of empathy, consideration and brotherhood surpasses the achievement of merely winning a competition at any point.

Poetic Devices


Alliteration is the close repetition of consonant sounds, usually at the beginning of words. Instances of alliteration in the poem are-

“His dreams and his efforts dashed in the dirt”

“But the youngest among them stumbled and staggered”


A climax is the arrangement of ideas according to increasing order of importance. The climax is usually achieved when the text leads up to an event, mood, phase or feeling of importance. For instance, in the poem, firstly all the athletes participate in the race, then they help the fallen athlete and finally they walk together holding hands to cross the finish line. The race ends with each runner receiving a gold medal for their noble deed. Thus, we see an increasing order of importance of the events taking place in the poem.