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Last updated at 16:55 BST, Thursday, 09 August 2012

The Crying Games


9 August 2012

The Olympic Games could be renamed the Crying Games; such is the outpouring of emotion at London 2012.


Beth McLeod

Felix Sanchez, Olympic gold medalist

Felix Sanchez cries as he receives his gold medal


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As the national anthem of the Dominican Republic played, Felix Sanchez cried uncontrollably. The winner of the 400m hurdles took deep breaths, trying to regain his composure, but his bottom lip continued to wobble and his tears continued to flow. He is not the only one to have shown his soft side at London 2012. Countless athletes across all disciplines have been weeping on podiums. The former Olympic table tennis player, Matthew Syed, says this wellspring of emotion is understandable.

Matthew Syed, former Olympic table tennis player:
This is one of the great joys of the Olympics. It is like a wonderful opportunity to experience emotional intensity, for us as viewers, for the athletes too. And when you deconstruct what they've gone through to get to this stage: the sacrifices, all of the hardships, the ambitions, the neurosis, that is wound up in that moment, you can kind of understand why it sometimes gets too much for them.

All that pressure leads to tears of despair as well. The Chinese weightlifter, Wu Jingbao, said he was ashamed for disgracing the motherland after failing to win gold. And the Olympic hosts - famed for their stiff upper lip - have been choking up along with the best of them. The British Olympic champions Victoria Pendleton, Chris Hoy, and Jess Ennis, all wept openly as they collected their medals.


Click to hear the vocabulary



without being able to stop


control of emotions or calm feeling




types of sporting activities


small platforms where people stand to receive their medals


analyse or take apart


excessive and irrational anxiety


bringing shame on

stiff upper lip

self-restraint in expressing emotion

choking up

getting emotional

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