Read the extracts given below and answer the questions that follow.
Question 1 : What is the reason for the coming of the athletes?
Answer : The athletes have come to participate in the Special Olympics. They are supposed to take part in the events that were to be performed. These athletes were differently-abled so they wanted to show the world that they were not weaker as far as strength and determination were considered.
Question 2 : How are the athletes mentioned in the extract different from the normal athletes?
Answer : The athletes mentioned in the poem, are participating in the Special Olympics which is meant for people who are differently-abled. Their being differently-abled makes them different from normal athletes.
Question 3 : What do the word ‘gold’, ‘silver’ and ‘bronze’ stand for in the above extract?
Answer : It states that the athletes have come to participate in the Special Olympics to win God, Silver and Bronze medals in the events. These are top three medals awarded to the persons with brilliant performance.
Question 4 : Describe ‘all building up’.
Answer : ‘All building up’ means that the athletes undergo a long training so that they are able to participate and win the contest. They intensified their training so that they can develop their body as per the level of the olympics.
Question 5 : How do you know that the athletes went through a rigorous training?
Answer : We know that the athletes went through rigorous training because the third line of the stanza says ‘Many weeks and months in training’. This means that their training lasted for a long period and was very rigorous . Everyone hoped for a medal, so athletes prepared themselves to mark their name for these awards. It could be possible only when they won one medal or two for their country.
Question 1 : Where had the ‘young women and men’ come from? What had brought them together? How did they prepare themselves for the event?
Answer : The young men and women had come from all over the world. The Special Olympics for the disabled had brought them together. They had prepared themselves for the event by training for many weeks and months before the event was held.
Question 2 : What was the last event of the day? How many athletes were participating in this event? What signal were they waiting for?
Answer : The last event of the day was the hundred metres race. Nine athletes were participating in the event. The signal they were waiting for was the sound of the starter’s gun.
Question 3 : What happened to the youngest athlete half way through the race? How did he respond?
Answer : Halfway through the race, the youngster athlete stumbled and staggered. He then fell on his knees to the ground. He responded by giving a cry of frustration and anguish as his dream and efforts had failed.
Question 4 : What ‘strange’ turn did the story take at this point?
Answer : At this point, the story took a strange turn. On seeing the youngest athlete fall down, the other athletes stopped running. One by one, they turned back to where he had fallen down and helped him to his feet. Then all runners joined hands and walked together to the finish line.
Question 5 : Why does the poet day that the banner – ‘Special Olympics’ could not have been nearer the mark? What human quality does the poem celebrate?
Answer : The poet says that the banner, ‘Special Olympics’, could not have been nearer the mark because all the athletes had displayed the ‘special’ value of true sportsmanship by helping the injured athlete and walking together with him to the finish line. The human qualities that the poet celebrates are empathy, cooperation and sportsman spirit.
Question 1 : Explain the ‘And so did the runners on heating the sound’.
Answer : The second line of the stanza describes that as soon as the pistol was fired to signal the starting of the race, all the runners taking part in the hundred metre race started to run.
Question 2 : Describe ‘the youngest among them’.
Answer : ‘The youngest among them’ refers to one of the participants in the hundred metre race. He was the youngest among all the participants in this event. Like the other athletes, he too wanted to make his country proud of him by winning the race.
Question 3 : Mention two events happening in this stanza.
Answer : The first event mentioned in the stanza is the participants’ running as soon as the pistol was fired to mark the starting of the hundred metre race. The second event mentioned is the falling down of the youngest participant in the race.
Question 4 : What happened when one of the athletes fell down? Why was it unusual?
Answer : When one of the participants fell to the ground the other participants came running to him instead of running to the finishing line. It was called an unusual happening because it was supposed to be competition where one should try to beat others.
Question 5 : Hos did the athlete react after the incident took place in the race?
Answer : The youngest of athletes felt disheartened and dejected. He knew that the chance of his success had been spoilt due to sudden fall. He thought that his efforts would go in vain. Thinking that he was unable to puruse the race, the gave out a cry. This feeling made him weak and frustrated. He also showed his anger for not being able to win the race due to his falling on the track. He was angry either at his inability or on his fate that had disappointed him at the final moments.
Question 1 : Explain the first line of the given stanza.
Answer : The first line of the stanza states that the youngest participant in the hundred metre race cried in frustration and grief after he fell down on the ground while running in the race.
Question 2 : What does ‘His dreams and his efforts dashed in the dirt’, state?
Answer : It states that the dreams and efforts of the youngest runner in the race were shattered as he fell down in the race. He had dreamt of winning the race and had trained himself intensively to so do but this accident wasted all his efforts.
Question 3 : Whom do ‘he’ and ‘they’ refer to in the given stanza?
Answer : ‘He’ in the stanza refers to the youngest runner in the hundred meter race who had fallen down while running in the race. ‘They’ refer to the other eight participants in the hundred meter race in Special Olympics.
Question 4 : How many participants were taking part in the race? How do you know?
Answer : Total nine participants were participating in the hundred metre race in the Special Olympics. We got the know about it as the title of poem suggests ‘Nine Gold Medals’. Moreover ‘the other eight athletes’ and ‘all the nine runners’ too suggest that there were nine participants who were to run in the hundred meter race.
Question 5 : Were the other eight runner selfish? Explain.
Answer : No, the other eight runners were not selfish as they had stopped running on seeing the youngest runner fall on the track. They helped him to get up. It was one of the most prestigious events and the athlete who had won it, he would have been hailed as a hero. These eight athletes preferred helping the fallen runner to winning the gold medal. This shows their generous nature. If they had been selfish they would have continued running.
Question 1 : What is an unusual behaviour? Why is it called so?
Answer : The stopping of running by the other eight runners to help the runner who has fallen, is an unusual behaviour. It is called so because usually in the prestigious event like this a cut-throat competition is seen, but here to help on opponents, all the athletes have given up their dream of winning the gold medal. It is the sheer demonstration of human empathy and brotherhood which is far more rewarding then a piece of glittering metal.
Question 2 : Mention the significance of ‘joined hands and continued’.
Answer : On seeing that one of the participants in the race had got injured and was unable to run, the other participants stopped running and holding one another’s hands walked up to finishing line along with the injured participant. This also shows the generosity spirit, empathy, love, compassion and co-operation of the participants in the race.
Question 3 : How had the race reduced to a walk?
Answer : The race had been reduced to a walk as after the runner who had fallen while running had got up, all the runners (participants) walked up to the finishing line instead of running as the injured one could not run.
Question 4 : Why were these Olympics games called ‘Special Olympics’?
Answer : ‘Special Olympics’ were the olympics where only the physically challenged people were allowed to participate. Not to make these people feel underprivileged these Olympics games were called ‘Special Olympics’.
Question 5 : Explain the last line of the stanza given.
Answer : It means that when all the participants walked past the finishing line of the hundred metre race, the banner of Special Olympics hanging up there could not have been more appropriate. This is because by doing this, they had displayed true sportsmanship i.e. the true spirit of the Special Olympics, which is to bring all the human together, irrespective of their casts, creeds, gender and nationality.
Question 1 : How did the race end?
Answer : The race ended when all of the participants of the race walked past the finishing line at the same time. As a result, all of them were awarded a gold medal each in the Special Olympics, declaring them the winners of the race.
Question 2 : What is meant by “They came to the finishing line holding hands still’?
Answer : Through this line the poet wants to show that the athletes came back to the finishing line holding one another’s hands to thank the spectators for support to acknowledge their work as a noble deeds and making their victory special.
Question 3 : Why were the faces beaming?
Answer : The faces were beaming as they (the nine participants) in the hundred meter race of the Special Olympics had won a gold medal each. As they had done something wonderful, their faces were beaming out of satisfaction.
Question 4 : In what way is their race different from other races?
Answer : In other races participants want to secure the first position and do not care if any of the participants gets injured while running. However, in this race the participants cared for the injured participant and walked together to the finishing line.
Question 5 : According to the poet what should be the reaction of the spectators over the incident? and Why?
Answer : The poet says that the kindness showed by the other participants towards the injured participant made the audience give them a standing ovation. They were also happy as each one of them had won a gold medal. The feeling of the audience and the happiness of the participants could not ever be expressed in words by the poet.