Nine Gold Medals Poem Summary & Line by Line Explanation in English ICSE 10th


The poem “Nine Gold Medals” written by David Roth describes an inspiring incident of a race in which 11 differently disabled people took part. The race, however, turned out quite different from the ordinary ones because when one of the participants fell down, the others rather than running away helped him to get up.

Afterward, all the participants moved towards the goal together. All of them win and they are rewarded gold medals for their sympathy for each other. The poem has been divided into 8 stanzas having 4 lines each.


Stanza 1

The athletes had come from all over the country
To run for the gold, for the silver and bronze
Many weeks and months of training
All coming down to these games.

The athletes came to participate in Special Olympics from all over the country. They had come with the dream to win either gold or silver or bronze medal. All of the participants had undergone through months of practice of the event and it was the day to prove themselves.

Stanza 2

The spectators gathered around the old field
To cheer on all the young women and men
The final event of the day was approaching
Excitement grew high to begin.

The spectators had gathered around the old field just before the game was supposed to begin just To cheer on all the young women and men i.e. the participants. The event was about to happen which made the people excited and eager.

Stanza 3

The blocks were all lined up for those who would use them
The hundred-yard dash and the race to be run
These were nine resolved athletes in back of the starting line
Poised for the sound of the gun.

There were blocks in around the field and the participants were supposed to run for a 100 yards race. There were nine participants or racers who were on the starting line quite ready and waiting for the gun to be fired.

Stanza 4

The signal was given, the pistol exploded
And so did the runners all charging ahead
But the smallest among them, he stumbled and staggered
And fell to the asphalt instead.

As soon as the fire was shot, all the runners started running towards the goal. However, the smallest of them couldn’t walk and run and ultimately fell down on the ground made up of asphalt.

Stanza 5

He gave out a cry in frustration and anguish
His dreams and his efforts all dashed in the dirt
But as sure as I’m standing here telling this story
The same goes for what next occurred.

In frustration, he raised a cry because his dream of winning the game was broken because of his lameness. The poet says what happened afterward is as true as he’s standing there and narrating the story.

Stanza 6

The eight other runners pulled up on their heels
The ones who had trained for so long to compete
One by one they all turned around and went back to help him
And brought the young boy to his feet.

All the other runners forgot the goal for which they had practiced for months and started moving towards the ninth runner to help him. They pulled him up and helped him stand on his feet.

Stanza 7

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.

All the nine runners instead of competing against each other joined hands and started walking towards the goal. There was a banner on which Special Olympics was inscribed. Special Olympics is a tournament in Olympics in which the participants are differently-abled.

Stanza 8

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.

All of the runners reached the endpoint together by holding each other’s hands.and the race ended with all of them as winners. They were rewarded with a gold medal each. All of them were smiling and their smile said more than the words could say.

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