Participation trophy

A participation trophy is a trophy given to children who participate in a sporting event but do not finish in first, second or third place, and so would not normally be eligible for a trophy. It is frequently associated with millennials.[1][2] Their use has caused controversy: critics argue that they promote narcissism and entitlement among children to whom they are given, and are based on incorrect assumptions regarding supposed psychological benefits of self-esteem. Critics also note that some children also do not value them as much as they do normal trophies that are given to winners.[3] Defenders of participation trophies argue that they teach children that trying their best is good enough, even if they do not win.[4][5]


  1. ^ Schlitzkus, Lisa L.; Schenarts, Kimberly D.; Schenarts, Paul J. (2010). "Is Your Residency Program Ready for Generation Y?". Journal of Surgical Education. 67 (2): 108–111. doi:10.1016/j.jsurg.2010.03.004. PMID 20656608.
  2. ^ "The Participation Trophy Generation is a Lie and I Can Prove it". 2017-01-16. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
  3. ^ Johnson, Heather Beth (2010-03-23). Children and Youth Speak for Themselves. Emerald Group Publishing. p. 326. ISBN 9781849507356.
  4. ^ Wallace, Kelly (2015-08-17). "Debate: Does sports participation deserve a trophy?". CNN. Retrieved 2018-02-20.
  5. ^ "The NPR Ed Mailbag: The Participation Trophy". NPR. 2014-08-14. Retrieved 2018-02-20.