Expectations and feelings of the Olympiakos athletes (2023)

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

Volume 41, Number 4,

July 2005

, pages 438-446

Author links open overlay panel, ,


In a frequently cited study of documents,Medvec, Madey y Gilovich (1995).found that bronze medalists seemed happier than silver medalists in a televised broadcast of the 1992 Summer Olympics. Medvec et al. states that the bronze medalists were compared to those who finished in fourth place, while the silver medalists were compared to the gold medalists. These counterexamples were more important because they were either qualitatively different (gold vs. silver) or categorically different (medal or not) from what actually happened. Drawing on archival data and experimental studies, we show that Olympians (among others) are more likely to make counterfactual comparisons based on their prior expectations, consistent with decision influence theory. Silver medalists are more likely to be disappointed because their personal expectations are higher than bronze medalists. We provide a test between expectation-based and category-based processing and discuss the circumstances that trigger each type of processing.

Unit extracts

Category-based counterfactuals

What makes one head-to-head comparison more compelling than another? Medvec et al. argued that the comparisons are driven by the proximity of the results to a significant category inflection point. Tipping points are ego-related performance patterns (like first place or winning a medal) that draw attention to alternate worlds on the other side of a category. A gold medal is qualitatively different from any other, and fourth place is fundamentally different from finishing

Anticipation-Based Counterfactuals

Another source of controversy stems from athletes' sense of what they can accomplish prior to competition. Such expectations arise from the athlete's recent performance, the athlete's recent performance, the coach's prediction, the media's prediction, etc. Many anecdotes illustrate how previous expectations can, in a great sporting event, reignite the flames of agony and ecstasy. In a 'miracle on ice,' the 1980 US Olympic hockey team defeated the Soviet team in the semifinals and advanced

study 1

We asked college students to rate the emotional reactions of athletes at the 2000 Summer Olympics held in Sydney, Australia. The students watched a videotape recorded by the athletes broadcast immediately after their competition and on the medal podium. We used the same procedure as Medvec et al. with two exceptions. First, we add the gold and non-gold medals to the sum of the silver and bronze medals. Second, we excluded athletes who were subject to the "newly won" - "just lost" phenomenon.

studio 2

If observers and athletes have similar beliefs about expectations and emotions, observers who know athletes' results and expectations should be able to predict athletes' emotions. We investigate observers' inferences about the happiness of Olympians when actual and expected results are unfounded. This experiment also allows us to test decision influence theory as a descriptive explanation of emotion.

studio 3

The study offers a test between expectation-based counterfactual assumptions and category-based counterfactual assumptions. Undergraduate students took a test of verbal skills. Some practiced and received feedback designed to build prior expectations, while others practiced but received no feedback. After the actual test, all students received feedback that placed them into categories with similar adjacent cutoff points as the silver and bronze medalists. Their results depended on themselves.


Medvec et al. found that bronze medalists at the 1992 Olympics seemed happier than silver medalists. They argued that scores near the turning points of important categories spontaneously led to contrasting comparisons. Furthermore, they rejected the prediction that silver medalists had higher personal expectations than bronze medalists with a regression analysis that showed no effect of expected endpoint on happiness scores.

We demonstrated its powerful performance in three studies

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representation criteria

Close calls can be notable counterfactuals (Kahneman & Varey, 1990). Consider, for example, a silver medalist who loses a match by the largest margin to a gold medalist, but defeats a bronze medalist soundly. Despite low expectations ahead of the race, the Olympic silver medalist is likely to make upward comparisons and feel worse. Instead, imagine that the silver medalist is far behind the gold medalist, but only surpasses the bronze medalist. The closure is a downward juxtaposition and

Mixed feelings

Recent research has shown that people can simultaneously experience emotions of opposite valence, such as happiness and sadness (Larsen, McGraw, & Cacioppo, 2001; Larsen, McGraw, Cacioppo, & Mellers, 2004). What happens when an Olympic silver medalist with low expectations doesn't win a gold medal? Perhaps the direction of contrary thinking swings up and down due to the conflicting influence of expectations and category cutoffs, leading to mixed feelings. we leave that question

Contrast vs assimilation

The results of Medvec et al. they are powerful reminders of emotional contrast. However, we know that emotional assimilation can also occur. Athletes may have positive “I almost made it” thoughts (Markman & Tetlock, 2000). McMullen and Markman (2002) examined what-if situations where it is important to draw the correct lessons from history. Reactions from basketball players, coaches and the media were more likely to show the effects of assimilation and looked positively at the great loss to

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      The pre-Olympic ranking of athletes can serve as a reference in this context, given the objective nature of the competition. Psychological studies have examined the facial expressions of Olympians seen on television to study their reaction immediately after the event, arguing that athletes' (prior) expectations influence their perception of their actual performance afterwards (Medvec et al. ., 1995; McGraw et al. . al., 2005). If pre-Olympic ranking is taken as a measure of the expected finish, then the minority of silver Olympians at the lower end of the ranking distribution far exceed expectations.

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    What qualities do we expect from our Olympians? ›

    The three values of Olympism are excellence, friendship and respect.

    What are the requirements for a sport to be in the Olympics? ›

    The Olympic Charter indicates that in order to be accepted, a sport must be widely practiced by men in at least 75 countries and on four continents and by women in no fewer than 40 countries and on three continents.

    How many years do Olympians train? ›

    It is best to start training your child when they are young, anywhere from two to five-years-old. Though this may seem young, a statistic reported that Olympians need to train anywhere from eight to nine years before they have full mastery of their sport.

    Why are some sports not in the Olympics? ›

    Previous Olympic Games included sports that are no longer included in the current program, such as polo and tug of war. Known as "discontinued sports", these have been removed due to either a lack of interest or the absence of an appropriate governing body for the sport.

    What is the personality of an Olympian? ›

    The Olympian is a super-achiever, a Type A personality defined by an indefatigable work ethic and an insanely high standard of excellence.

    What are the Olympian core values? ›

    Excellence, Respect and Friendship are the three core values of Olympism and are a central focus at the Olympic Games and Youth Olympic Games. Excellence means doing the best we can, on the field of play or in our professional life.

    What are the easiest Olympic sports to qualify for? ›

    No skill, strength, or athleticism required!
    • Indoor Volleyball.
    • Ski Jumping. ...
    • Table Tennis. ...
    • Equestrian. ...
    • Rowing. ...
    • Soccer. What's that? ...
    • Snowboarding. Not really sure how this sport works, but if it's anything like waterboarding, the US should dominate.
    • Hockey. Hockey is nothing but an easier, simpler, colder version of soccer. ...
    Nov 15, 2013

    What is the minimum age an athlete can be to participate in Olympics? ›

    Technically, the answer is, there is no such requirement. According to the International Olympic Committee, “there is no specific age limit for taking part in the Olympic Games.” Rather, the age restrictions depend on each International Sports Federation and the rules of each sport.

    What is Olympic age requirement? ›

    Abstract: The current rendition of Rule 43 in the Olympic Charter states that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not impose age limits for competitors.

    Do Olympic athletes take rest days? ›

    Training all day every day to achieve the dream of taking home that shiny gold medal requires so much persistence and passion, but as otherworldly as they may seem, Olympic athletes have rest days in their routines, just like you and me.

    What age do Olympians retire? ›

    According to some studies, it is very rare that an elite sports career would last more than 10 years, with athletes generally retiring around the age of 34 1 , although this can be much younger in sports such as gymnastics.

    How hard is it to be an Olympian? ›

    Taking part in the Olympic Games is every athlete's dream, and requires huge amounts of determination and long years of training. Athletes must first comply with the Olympic Charter and follow the rules of the International Federation (IF) governing their sport.

    What is the least favorite Olympic sport? ›

    In this year, equestrian events were the least favored with 13 percent citing them as such. Badminton was in second position with 10 percent of those surveyed citing it as their least favorite Olympic event.

    What is the safest Olympic sport? ›

    A study of injuries occurring in Olympic competition ranks Fencing as having one of the lowest injury rates, making it one of the safest Olympic sports.

    What is the least sporty sport? ›

    The sports that were observed having the lowest physical activity levels (i.e., highest amounts of sedentary behavior) were cheerleading (2.41), girls softball (2.76), boys baseball (3.02), girls track and field (3.23), and girls tennis (3.46).

    What personality type is most likely to be an athlete? ›

    Of all the personality types, Assertive Executives (ESTJ-A) were the most likely to agree with the statement, “You tend to do well in active, physical sports” (76%).

    What personality type would best describe an athletic person? ›

    The top personality traits of athletes are extraversion and conscientiousness. Athletes score highly on extraversion, meaning that they rely on external stimuli to be happy, such as people or exciting surroundings.

    What are some personality traits of an athlete? ›

    Top 10 Characteristics of an Athlete
    • Motivated. First and foremost, knowing what makes you step into the gym, onto the course, court, field, or track, or into the pool is key. ...
    • Passionate. ...
    • Disciplined. ...
    • Committed. ...
    • Optimistic. ...
    • Persistent. ...
    • Supportive. ...
    • Competitive.
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    What sport is considered the hardest? ›

    According to Sports Virsa, the top 10 hardest sports in the world to play in 2022 are as follows: Boxing (hardest), American football, mixed martial arts, ice hockey, gymnastics, basketball, soccer, wrestling, rugby, and water polo.

    What Olympic sport takes the most skill? ›

    Degree of Difficulty: Sport Rankings
    Ice Hockey7.252
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    What is the least competitive sport? ›

    Non-competitive sports are those which do not involve a team, or require a competition. Some examples include: aerobics, fishing, hiking, skateboarding, surfing, kayaking, archery, etc.

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    Dimitros Loundras is the youngest athlete to ever compete in the Olympic Games, taking part in the 1896 Athens Olympics at 10 years, 216 days old.

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    There is no specific age limit for taking part in the Olympic Games. This depends on each International Sports Federation and the rules it lays down for its sport. Learn more: See the Olympic Charter rule on age limits, Chapter 5, Rule 42.

    Who is the oldest Olympian? ›

    The oldest ever Olympian is Oscar Swahn of Sweden. He was 72 years, 281 days old when he competed at the 1920 Olympics in shooting. He also qualified for the 1924 Olympics but withdrew without competing.

    Who is the youngest woman gold medalist? ›

    At the age of 13 years and 268 days, she won the gold medal in 3-meter springboard diving at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, making her at the time the youngest person ever to win an Olympic gold medal.
    Marjorie Gestring.
    Personal information
    Olympic finals1936 Summer Olympics: 3 m springboard – Gold
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    How much sleep do athletes need? Pro athletes typically need more than most—it's recommended that they get 8-10 hours every night. But for the average adult, aim for seven to nine hours of sleep a night to avoid the effects of chronic sleep deprivation.

    How many hours does the Olympians train? ›

    Of course, no two routines are the same. Canadian Olympic skier Sara Renner told Weight Watchers that a typical tough training week for her entails about 25 hours of practice, or approximately three to four hours each day.

    How many hours do Olympians train a week? ›

    During the sports season, they typically work more than 40 hours per week for several months as they practice, train, travel, and compete.

    What is the peak athletic age? ›

    In terms of strength, it is generally accepted that muscle mass naturally declines over the age of 40, and the evidence seems to suggest 25 is when athletes are at their strongest. there is a plateau in strength around 35-40 before an accelerating decline. By 65, the study found strength declines by 25 per cent.

    Which sport has the oldest average age? ›

    Tactical and precision sports with lower physical loads such as sailing, shooting, and equestrianism had the oldest ages. The median age for equestrians was 35 for women and 38 for men. The averages were higher still, at 39 and 36. Men's football (soccer), with a median age of 22, is an unusual case.

    What sport has the youngest retirement age? ›

    The NFL is one of the toughest, most physically demanding sports there is, which is why it's the league with the earliest retirement age amoung its players. Buffalo Bills start construction of their new stadium: Why is it called the New Highmark Stadium?

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    Conclusion. The occasional drink in moderation is not a problem – even for athletes. However, if you want to improve your performance, build muscle, or are training for a race, steer clear of the bottle.

    Do Olympians get paid? ›

    Olympic athletes don't usually receive a traditional salary for competing in the Olympics, unlike in other sporting events. They do receive bonuses if they earn a gold, silver or bronze medal. The U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) rewards athletes for winning these medals.

    Do Olympians get a lot of money? ›

    Olympic athletes do not get paid by just attending the Olympic Games. However, if an athlete earns a medal, there is a medal bonus attached to it. A gold medal is worth $37,500, a silver medal is worth $22,500 and a bronze medal is worth $15,000.

    What sport is no longer in the Olympics? ›

    Since the first modern Games in 1896, 10 sports have disappeared completely from the Olympic schedule. These are croquet, cricket, Jeu de Paume, pelota, polo, roque, rackets, tug-of-war, lacrosse, and motor boating.

    Which sport is the most athletic? ›

    #1 Basketball

    Unlike most sports, basketball requires an immense amount of athleticism due to its fast pace and constant running up and down the court. The game relies heavily on speed and agility and if you aren't in tip-top shape as a basketball player, you typically get left behind by the competition.

    What's an Olympic sport that doesn't exist but should? ›

    Laser tag elimination. One big map, one representative from each country, last man or woman standing wins.

    What sport has highest injury rate? ›

    What Are the Most Common Sports Injuries? Believe it or not, basketball actually has more injuries than any other sport, followed by football, soccer and baseball. Common sports injuries include hamstring strains, groin pulls, shin splints, ACL tears and concussions.

    Which Olympic sport has the least injuries? ›

    Injury incidence was lowest in swimming, archery, roller speed skating, equestrian, climbing and rowing (all fewer than 5 injuries per 100 athletes).

    What Olympic sport has the highest injury rate? ›

    The highest injury incidences were recorded in rugby (43% per 100 competing athletes) and boxing (33%), while the highest incidences of illness were seen in golf (20%) and triathlon (16%).

    What sport is easiest on the body? ›

    Cycling is very easy on your joints. You never create an impact with the ground, so your knees, ankles, hips, and back experience little strain during a session.

    What sport is hardest to go pro in? ›

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    • Soccer. ...
    • Basketball.

    What is the most gentle sport? ›

    6 of the best low impact sports
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    2. 2 – Swimming. A few laps of your local swimming pool will offer a good all round workout without over-doing any muscle or joint in particular. ...
    3. 3 – Cycling. ...
    4. 4 – An exercise class. ...
    5. 5 – Golf. ...
    6. 6 – Dance. ...
    7. 2 Comments.
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    What qualities does this athlete possess? ›

    Top 10 Characteristics of an Athlete
    • Motivated. First and foremost, knowing what makes you step into the gym, onto the course, court, field, or track, or into the pool is key. ...
    • Passionate. ...
    • Disciplined. ...
    • Committed. ...
    • Optimistic. ...
    • Persistent. ...
    • Supportive. ...
    • Competitive.
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    What qualities does it take to be an athlete? ›

    Traits of an Athlete
    • Listening. Young athletes can learn how to develop their listening abilities within interscholastic sports. ...
    • Resilience to Failure. How athletes respond to loss is just as important as how they respond to victory. ...
    • Teamwork. ...
    • Dignity. ...
    • Time Management. ...
    • Recommended Readings.
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    What are the qualities of a good sports person? ›

    How Can I Be a Good Sport?
    • Have a positive attitude.
    • Give your best effort.
    • Shake hands with the other team before and after the game.
    • Support teammates by saying "good shot" or "good try." Never criticize a teammate for trying.
    • Accept calls and don't argue with officials.

    What qualities do you need to be successful at sports? ›

    6 Qualities And Mental Skills Of Highly Successful Athletes
    • They Have Optimistic And Positive Attitude. Attitude can determine how much you can achieve. ...
    • They Have Compelling Vision. ...
    • They Are Extremely Motivated. ...
    • Set Realistic And Achievable Goals. ...
    • Self Talk. ...
    • Visualization.
    Feb 18, 2021

    What defines a great athlete? ›

    To be even considered to be the greatest of all time in a sport an athlete or player must have the following 5 traits. These are ability, leadership, consistency, longevity, and the ability to overcome adversity.

    What are the importance of positive attitude for athletes performers? ›

    A positive attitude can help athletes stay motivated and help avoid overwhelm and anxiety. While it might take time, effort, and regular maintenance, finding ways to shift a bad attitude into a good one can help you perform your best.

    What are the key characteristics of successful athlete leaders? ›

    9 Qualities of a Sports Leader
    • Set an example. As a leader and authority figure, your fellow team members are likely to follow you down any behavioural path you choose. ...
    • Awareness. As the leader of a team, awareness is key. ...
    • Passion. ...
    • Enthusiasm. ...
    • Ability. ...
    • Communicate. ...
    • Motivational skills. ...
    • Will to win.
    Oct 14, 2016

    What are the four qualities to be considered as a sport official? ›

    Qualities such as integrity, honesty, trustworthiness and respect are integral to the role of the official. This includes how they behave and relate to others prior to, during and after competition, how they present themselves as an official, and how they go about their role.

    What 4 attributes does an athlete need to produce a skilled performance? ›

    Four Physical Elements of Sports Performance. In any movement or sport, there are essentially 4 physical traits an athlete will have to display or use; strength, speed, conditioning, and positioning.

    What does sportsmanship feel like? ›

    Good sportsmanship may seem hard to define, but its hallmarks include being able to win without gloating, respecting one's opponents, and being able to lose gracefully. Here are some important principles to instill in your children: If you lose, don't make up excuses. If you win, don't rub it in.


    1. What a welcome for Marcelo at Olympiacos! 🔥
    (ESPN UK)
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    (Trace 'n Chase)
    6. 2022-23 EuroLeague MVP: Sasha Vezenkov, Olympiacos Piraeus


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