5 2 mins 9 yrs

Because Friday night is Music Night: the very best of British.

A slightly indulgent interlude, dear reader. I did think that the Great British (none of your “Team GB” colonialisms here) cycling team were a rather tasty outfit, but tonight even my socks are blown off. We’re two days into the cycling programme, the Golds are coming in, Sir Chris Hoy has scorched his way to two world records and his fifth cycling Gold, the men’s pursuit team has Gold and a world record, Victoria Pendleton has bagged Gold in the keirin for a swansong, making up for a technical fault and relegation yesterday, but even then she broke the world record. I’m sitting here trying to think of a British cyclist who’s been on the track and who hasn’t yet broken a world record. This is not only Top Stuff, it’s Top Stuff with a trail of broken Aussies and Germans littering the track. It just does not get any better than that.

More, please.

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  1. Maybe it’s because I’m weird (no comments, please), but although I have little interest in sport in general, when I see an Olympic participant doing his/her best and winning a medal, I think “good for that person! He/She has won the medal” – I attribute the success entirely unto that individual, and the question of what country they are “representing” doesn’t even cross my mind. It’s not a Gold Medal “for Britain” or for any other country, it’s simply a Gold Medal for that particular athlete, end of story. That’s the way I look at it. What has the fact that that athlete happens to be British (or French, or whatever) got to do with it? It’s THEIR personal ability which won them the medal; it’s not a reflection of the country they happen to live in.
    …But there we go, as I say, I don’t understand sport. (But I do understand/appreciate music, and I feel the same way about that: Queen were a great rock band, and that remains the case regardless of which country they come from. That they happened to be British is neither here nor there, to me. Music is not some sort of international competition).

  2. Tom

    Are you honestly saying that for example if you were watching an exciting race with 2 athletes fighting it out for 1st place, one French, One Britishy approached the winning line you wouldn;t even just a little bit be willing the Brit to win ?

  3. I agree with Tom, but for somewhat different reasons, and I assume that we are referring to the Olympics.

    The idea of ‘country above all else’ is the antithesis of the Olympic oath and ideal. It was meant to be a celebration of the individual. Anyone who has participated in any sport will understand the significant difference of competition between teams and between individuals.

    It was the countries where statist national socialism, such as Russia and China, ruled the roost that made political capital of ‘the national team success’, and in the process made a mockery of the ‘Olympic ideal’.

    Perhaps understandable as it is a perverted extension of their ruling political stance of ‘all for one and one for all’ and completely ignoring any hint of individual skill, effort or determination.

    As to ‘who would you cheer between two competitors’, – yes, it may well be the ‘home man’, but surely it depends on the competitors attitude as well as his performance, – does he cheat, take drugs, does he have a wimp attitude, etc, etc. and don’t we all have our likes and dislikes among competitors in any sport, of whatever nationality.

    The recent Wimbledon final was a good example, – I would warrant that Federer had many more Brit supporters than that other guy!

    As for the ‘team’ games, – do they really fit the Olympic format and ideal? and why would you wish to support a team where its member players may be ‘imported’ for the sole purpose of boosting some perversion of national superiority.

    The same thing does happen in individual events, which supports my claim that it is the individual who should receive your praise and support, regardless of nationality

    Medal tables and all that celeb rubbish is just a media thing and has nothing to do with the concept of sport.

  4. Colm, yes, I suppose that, all other factors being equal, in the scenario you suggest, I would be rooting for the British contestant. -But there would really have to be no discernable difference in terms of talent between the two imaginary contestants. If one of them ran/cycled/jumped perceivably “better” than the other (whatever “better” might mean, I don’t know – that is to say, I couldn’t put it into words, but I’d know it if I saw it), then I would be cheering for that “better” sportsman/woman.
    However, as I said, sport leaves me cold, generally. It’s a throwback to schooldays, my memories of hated P.E. lessons supervised by ghastly, pervy sports teachers, who, these days (hopefully) wouldn’t be let anywhere near a school. I vowed to myself, as I celebrated the passing of my last ever ‘double games’ lesson, that never again would I set foot in a sports stadium or gymnasium of any description. And I haven’t.

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