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Has Modesty Ever Prevented You From Celebrating an Achievement?


Have you ever felt self-conscious or even embarrassed because you performed better than other people academically, in a sports competition or in anything else? What about when your favorite team, musician or actor wins “too many” championships or awards?

Or, in your view, is there no such thing as excessive accomplishment?

In “As Medals Pile Up, Norway Worries: Are We Winning Too Much?,” David Segal writes about how many Norwegians are unsettled by their nation’s success at the Winter Olympics:

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Surpassing its own lofty expectations, Norway has delivered the greatest performance in the history of the Winter Games, winning a total of 39 medals, 14 of them gold. A nation of only five million people has crushed all comers, including sports behemoths like Germany and the United States, in the events Norwegians care about the most.

Elsewhere, these historic results would yield the kind of street parties where strangers high-five one another until their hands hurt. In Norway, celebrations have been far more subdued. The most raucous it has gotten so far is a lot of joyful shouting at the television.

… “It’s a strange thing, but some people in Norway yell at us when we win too much,” said Knut Nystad, who heads the team’s 30-person wax tech operation. “Other countries dominate other sports. Why is the argument against success made only in the sport where we’re succeeding?”

Students: Read the entire article, then tell us:

— Do you think Norway is unique in wanting to play down its athletes’ achievements instead of openly displaying pride?

— Have you ever experienced anything like this? If so, explain.

— How does the article attempt to explain why Norwegians are so good at winter sports?

— Why do some people feel that so much success presents “a conundrum for Norwegians”?

— Do you think modesty is a good thing, a bad thing or a combination of the two? Explain.

Students 13 and older are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.

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