"Nine Gold Medals" tells the remarkable and (partly) true story of the 100-meter race at an event held in 1976 by the Special Olympics, a sporting organization for athletes with intellectual disabilities.
The opening stanza establishes the event's stakes: athletes have come from all over the world—"from so many countries"—to compete for a medal at the "games." They've trained long and hard, for "many weeks and months." All of this work has been"building up to" one thing: "the games." These games are the culmination of immense effort, and these athletes are, presumably, under a huge amount of pressure.
The poem's second quatrain then sets the scene. Spectators have "gathered" around the track in order to cheer on the athletes. The speaker also notes that this is "the final event of the day." This, then, is the moment it all comes down to for these runners.
These two stanzas set up the poem's meter, which is best characterized as a very loose mixture of anapestic tetrameter and trimeter. Most lines have four feet, while the final line of most stanzas has three. The most common foot is the anapest (a foot with three syllables arranged in an unstressed-unstressed-stressed pattern, da-da-DUM), but there are lots of iambs (feet with an unstressed-stressed syllable pattern, da-DUM) thrown in, especially at the start of lines. Here are lines 1-2, for example:
The ath- | letes had come | from so | many countries
To run | for the gold, | for the sil- | ver and bronze
The meter isn't all that regular throughout the poem (even here, readers can see that line 1 has an extra unstressed syllable dangling at the end), but much of the poem follows a similarly bright, bouncy rhythm. The galloping feel of those anapests, in particular, evokes the swift gait of the runners themselves.