When it comes to Gold and Silver medalists in Olympic Track and Field events between 1896 and 1948, then :
“Contrary to conventional wisdom, winners die over one year earlier than losers.”
That’s the result of a new research project conducted by Professor Adam Leive of the Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy, University of Virginia. Why should this be? Perhaps “fame may induce risky lifestyle decisions”? Or maybe “income earned later in life may partly explain the earlier deaths”? These, and others, are questions that are still to be resolved – bearing in mind that :
“Disentangling the relationship between achievement and health is challenging because several channels may operate simultaneously.”
Also see: This research from 1995 which found that “bronze medalists tend to be happier than silver medalists”
Further reading: More information about ‘Close Counterfactuals’ : “Close Counterfactuals are alternatives to reality that almost happened.” From Daniel Kahneman and Carol A. Varey University of California, Berkeley, 1990.