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How Long Does It Take to Win a Medal?

Mike Hewitt, Getty Images

One of the most amazing things to think about when you watch the Olympics is just how much time all of the athletes put into training for this moment.  ALL of them have been working at this every day for years…if not their whole lives.

And for some of them, it’s over in SECONDS.

The “Wall Street Journal” analyzed different sports to figure out just how much time different Olympic athletes actually spend competing on their way to a gold medal.

The quickest Olympics go to the shot putters.  All told, a shot putter spends just THIRTEEN SECONDS competing to win the gold.  The javelin throwers come in second, with about 32 seconds of total competition on the way to gold.

Team sports that only give out ONE medal after two weeks of games spend more time competing.  Volleyball players compete for about 14 hours to win a gold medal.  Field hockey, basketball, soccer, and team handball also take several hours.

One upset?  Whoever wins the gold medal in WALKING competes for over three-and-a-half hours.  That takes longer than the MARATHON.

(Wall Street Journal)

You can see the full chart with times taken from the 2008 Olympics here.


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