1062 Famous Americans

Cheryl and Nick continue their conversation about famous people from their countries.


Nick: Obviously from Seattle, there's many famous people.

Cheryl: Ah, yes, from Seattle. We have Jimmy Hendrix.

Nick: Jimmy Hendrix. Wow! I love Jimmy Hendrix.

Cheryl: Yeah, he is a very famous musician, and we have his statues on the street in Seattle and he's quite the star in Seattle. But he's no longer around unfortunately.

Nick: I know. Really unfortunate. What an unfortunate death.

Cheryl: Yes.

Nick: Any other famous Americans?

Cheryl: Well, there is plenty of famous Americans. Somebody in America who recently won the Nobel Peace Prize, and his name as most of everybody listening probably already knows is Barack Obama.

Nick: Oh, really, I heard that. I read that in the newspaper this morning.

Cheryl: Oh did you?

Nick: Yeah.

Cheryl: Yeah, it's pretty amazing. Some people think that he won it too early, too prematurely because he's only been in office. He's the President of the United States. He's been so only for nine months I believe, so it's quite early to give the Nobel Peace Prize for not really having done anything yet, his detractors say. But his supporters are really, really happy. It's a big prize. It's also a lot of pressure for one man in America to hold, and he's already President of the United States of America so that's a bigger burden on him. He has to hold up to the pressure.

Nick: Is there any famous sports people? Like, I don't know.

Cheryl: Hmm, sports people? Well, one person I can think of that's very famous in America recently is Michael Phelps. He is a twenty … a young twenty-something guy who is probably the best swimmer in history.

Nick: Oh, Ian Thorpe is.

Cheryl: He recently won many, many gold medals in the 2000 Beijing Olympics. He probably won the most I think. He broke the record for having won the most. I believe it was eight medals. Eight gold medals for a swimming competition.

Nick: I think Ian Thorpe only won six in one Olympics. Michael Phelps takes it out.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson

no longer around


But he's no longer around unfortunately.

When someone is no longer around, that means they are not there or not present any more. In the example above, the speaker says "he is no longer around" to politely refer that the person is dead. Here are a few more examples:

  1. That man is no longer around. I don't know what happened to him.
  2. Sadly he is no longer with us. He passed away.



He won it prematurely.

When something is premature, that means it happened too early. Things that are premature often need a little more time before they are ready. Notice the following:

  1. The baby was born prematurely at seven months but survived.
  2. The man spoke prematurely and told the woman information she did not need to know.



His detractors say he has not done very much.

A detractor is a person who is critical of someone and often not a fan or supporter of them. Detractors like to point out negative things about people. Notice the following:

  1. Every politician has his or her detractors.
  2. Leaders often use war to quiet their detractors.

big burden


Being president is a big burden.

A burden is a responsibility one has to take because of their position. Any leader has the burden of taking care of the people below them. Notice the following:

  1. Parenthood is a joy, but also a big burden.
  2. After winning the lottery, he didn't like the burden of having to manage his money.

hold up


He has to hold up to the pressure.

When we hold someone up to pressure that means we hold them up so everyone can see them or watch what they do. In order to hold up to pressure, one needs to succeed and not fail. Notice the following:

  1. Some athletes cannot hold up to the pressure of playing in a big game.
  2. She help up to the pressure of being the first woman CEO.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
no longer • prematurely • detractors
burden • hold up
  1. He could not to the pressure.
  2. He had the of taking care of his ailing father.
  3. That store is there.
  4. She spoke in the meeting and upset the boss.
  5. His say he spends too much money on bad projects.