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Rejecting the Consolation Prize

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No one can win all the time. Sometimes though, they may just end up with a second place award of some sort. Depending on the circumstances, it could be a good thing or a bad thing.

If the loser is unhappy about not getting the top prize, the award itself isn't that impressive to begin with or some other reason, they'll refuse to accept the prize, probably considering it beneath them, yell at the judges and/or the winner and storm off. If they actually do accept the award, then expect it to either be left behind elsewhere, discarded or even destroyed, or just given to some other random person.

A subtrope of Sore Loser. Compare with Second Place Is for Losers, where the same level of disdain is there, but rejecting their prize may not be, My New Gift Is Lame, where a situation usually not connected to a contest has the receiver hating their gift, and Undesirable Prize, which is a reward available for everyone playing to win or receive, but usually still isn't sought after. Contrast with Second Place Is for Winners, Graceful Loser, The Runner-Up Takes It All.


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    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The beginning of Beyond the Lights has a ten-year-old Noni competing in a talent contest, wowing the judges and only getting second place. Her angry mother then takes her off stage after she receives her trophy then orders her to throw it on the ground, destroying it, giving her the lesson that second place is not acceptable.
  • At one point in The Jacksons: An American Dream, the Jacksons are in a local talent contest and although their performance was great and they believed that they would win, they instead got runner up and received a color television as a prize. As an infuriated Joe and the rest of his disappointed brothers all walk off and leave the set behind, a young and unknowing Marlon begs them to accept the TV.
  • In a surprising move from The Karate Kid Part II, returning adversary Johnny Lawrence ended up pleased with his second place trophy, but Sensei Kreese wasn't, leading to him both smashing the trophy and attacking Johnny for his failure. Fortunately, Mr. Miyagi managed to put him in his place.
  • Played with in Scrooged: Frank receives a Humanitarian of the Year award at a banquet, which technically means that he won first place. However, based on his own dismissive attitude of the ceremony itself and he flicking the award to test its density (i.e., it's not solid gold), he leaves it behind in the taxi he takes back to work.

  • In the Apprentice Adept novel, Blue Adept, protagonist Stile and master musician Clef's harmonica battle earned the loser a special prize of one year's tenurenote  When Stile pulled off the surprise win, Clef was far from upset. He implied he was going to leave Proton anyway: With the insight he gained from Stile, he could take his music to levels that would let him live like the Citizen class anywhere in the galaxy. Then Stile offers him a third option.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the final Married... with Children Christmas Episode, Marcy spends an exorbitant amount of money on a life-sized nativity scene to win a neighborhood Christmas display contest. Whilst she was initially declared the winner, the judges then spot Peg's gingerbread display of the neighborhood and award her the trophy and $100 instead. When Marcy was given a fruitcake as a second place prize, she barks back "Shove the fruitcake, you bitch!", knocks over one of her wisemen statues, and storms off.
  • In the Saved by the Bell episode "Aloha Slater", track star Zack wins a third place ribbon in a cross country meet. While he's originally happy with his prize, once he sees Slater touting a large first place trophy in championship wrestling and receiving praise from the school, he chucks his prize into the garbage.

  • When she was bested by Yuka Sato at the 1994 World Championship, ice skater Surya Bonaly tore off her silver medal in disgust, believing that the former only won due to the events being held in her home country of Japan.
  • Professional bodybuilder turned murderer Craig Titus usually came out on top, but whenever he lost, he took it rather poorly. One losing competition had him throw his trophy on the ground and then stomp on it for good measure before storming off. While he was up until then well-regarded in his field, in the world of bodybuilding such an act is considered highly disrespectful and his reputation began to crumble right there.
  • Danish handball star Mikkel Hansen did this twice; first after losing the 2011 handball world championship where he took off his silver medal right after receiving it and reportedly threw it into a river and again after a second loss in the European championships three years later where he hid it underneath his tracksuit.
  • In the 2004 edition of the Copa Libertadores, Boca Juniors, the previous year's champion, defended the championship against Once Caldas in the finals, and they lost. As a result of the loss, Boca's head coach, Carlos Bianchi, stormed to the locker room and missed the coronation. According to him, he didn't know that second-placers also received medals, considering that during his stint, and up to that point, the team only missed the 2002's finals. He eventually apologized to Once Caldas's then-head coach, Luis Fernando Montoya, over his actions.
  • The gold medal basketball game at the 1972 Olympic Games ended in controversy. With the United States leading 50-49 late, a series of chaotic events led to the Soviet Union getting three chances to score at the end of the game, with play halted and the clock reset to three seconds after each of the first two attempts. The Soviets scored on the last one for a 51-50 upset victory. When the USA's official protests were denied and the result upheld, the furious American players and coaches unanimously rejected their silver medals, which are still in a vault in Switzerland to this day. There's little chance for this state of affairs to change — the IOC has insisted that any decision to accept the medals must be unanimous, and at least one Team USA player has reportedly written into his will that his wife and children are forbidden from ever accepting them.

    Western Animation 
  • An interesting example in Camp Lazlo which is somehow able to subvert this trope. Edward wins the main prize...but every trophy, including last place, is more impressive than his 1st prize. This makes him dispose of his trophy in rage.

    Real Life 
  • In the United States, at least, prizes above a certain dollar value are subject to income tax. If the winner of the consolation prize doesn't feel it's worth the tax and no cash prize is also awarded with (or offered in lieu of) the prize to offset the tax, they may simply choose to reject it.