David Mitchell, a bookstore owner in Derbyshire, England, has decided that Olympians should have something to show for placing fourth in their event in London this summer.
There used to be 84 countries in the Olympic Games, now there are 204. Performance levels have become so much higher that it is so hard now to get a medal. I thought, it’s time this increase in the competitiveness and the standards was taken account of,” Mitchell said to BBC News.
To right this wrong, Mitchell has taken his own money down to a local trophy store and had them develop some custom hardware that he plans to send to fourth place athletes. One side of the medal displays the athlete’s name and event they competed in, and on the other the medal says, “In Recognition of your 4th Place Olympic Games 2012.”
The first recipients of the Mitchell medal? The British dive synchronized dive team of Peter Waterfield and Tom Daley. Waterfield and Daley were in the lead of the 10m synchronized competition, until the duo botched their fourth dive and missed out on the podium.
Now, thanks to Mitchell, Daley and his partner will have something to show for their performance, which though disappointing, left them as the fourth best synchronized divers in the world. Being the fourth best in the world at something is still pretty darn good, and worth celebrating according to Mitchell.
“I hope they don’t find it insulting,” Mitchell said to BBC News. “It’s meant seriously and supportively. I’m sure that all the sportsmen at the Olympic Games will have a great medal cabinet at their home, and I just hope there will be room in it for one of these medals.”
Mitchell doesn’t plan to just hand these medals out to fourth place UK athletes either. He pans to send medals to select fourth place finishers from around the world.