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1. Preview the vocabulary and read the gapfill text.
2. Play the news report and try to fill in the blanks.
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dateline: 01 March 2011

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Dramatic Finish at World’s First Robot Marathon

Pre-Listening Vocabulary

  • dramatic: highly emotional; thrilling for the audience
  • humanoid: a robot or creature that looks a bit like a human
  • rival: one’s main competitor or enemy
  • collision: a crash; usually caused by two or more objects trying to be in the same place at the same time
  • eliminate: remove completely

Dramatic Finish at World’s First Robot Marathon

A robot named Robovie-PC won first place at the world’s first full length robot marathon, held in Osaka, Japan. The humanoid that won is 40 centimetres tall and weighs 2.4 kilograms. Though the race took hours to complete, the winner beat its rival by just one second. The owners of the five competing robots were allowed to change the , but were not allowed to pick up any robots that fell down. The robots had to get back on their own two feet after a collision or . One of the robots was eliminated after the first of 422 laps around the indoor track. After crossing the finish line, the first and second place robots and waved to the crowd.

Comprehension Questions

  1. What size is the robot that won the race?
  2. Where was the competition held?
  3. What did some of the robots do at the end of the two-day race?

Discussion Question: While these robots were painfully slow, organizers hope the robot marathon will one day become an international competition like the RoboCup, an annual competition of robot soccer. Do you think there will come a day in the future when spectators will prefer to watch machines compete than humans?

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Written and recorded by Tara Benwell for EnglishClub
Tara Benwell is a Canadian freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry.
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