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Michael Jordan led the Americans to a/the gold medal in the 1988 Olympics.

I'd choose "the" because there was only one gold medal in basketball at that particular event (or any basketball competition for that matter) but I've seen many examples that use "a".
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IvanhrI'd choose "the" because there was only one gold medal in basketball at that particular event (or any basketball competition for that matter) but I've seen many examples that use "a".
You are correct in your logic but that is not what this phrase says.

Michael Jordan led the Americans to a gold medal in the 1988 Olympics.One of many gold medals given during the Olympic games.

Michael Jordan led the Americans to the gold medal for basketball in the 1988 Olympics. The one gold medal give for basket ball during the 1988 Olympics.
Thanks, that was exactly what I thought but take a look at this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%A0ar%C5%ABnas_Mar%C4%8Diulionis

He was one of the first Europeans to become a regular in the North American National Basketball Association (NBA). In the 1988 Seoul Olympics Basketball Tournament, together with teammate Arvydas Sabonis, he led the USSR national team to a gold medal in basketball. (is this wrong?)
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Sorry but I do not know if it is wrong or how to explain.Emotion: embarrassed
IvanhrMichael Jordan led the Americans to a/the gold medal in the 1988 Olympics.
I'd choose "the" because there was only one gold medal in basketball
"Oneness" isn't always enough. There is a tendency to use a/an if a noun is modified by an adjective or a relative clause. A noun (gold) can function as an adjective. There is only one sky, therefore we say:

Birds were flying in the sky.

If we add an adjective, the article changes:
Birds were flying in a blue sky.

Also note:
I had lunch.
I had an early lunch.

Last night I saw a film that I'll never forget.
(I may have seen only one film, yet a is used.)

CB
Thanks CB,

What do you think of the USSR sentence? Would you use "the" or "a" there?
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Sorry, Ivanhr, I can only access the Wikipedia page. All the other links give me a blank white page. Can you copy the sentence for me, please?

CB
Cool BreezeSorry, Ivanhr, I can only access the Wikipedia page. All the other links give me a blank white page. Can you copy the sentence for me, please?CB
You can find the sentence in my second post (in this thread).
IvanhrYou can find the sentence in my second post (in this thread).
Emotion: embarrassed Sorry. I think the sentence is fine as it is with the indefinite article. I would prefer it that way. However, I wouldn't be surprised if some people usedthe instead. Especially when people speak, they don't always consider all the options and carefully weigh them in their minds before choosing the article.

CB
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