Britain look like beating the medal tally they achieved as a home competitor. In medal terms they will be either second or third most successful competitor on this most elevated of world stages. So why should anyone question a little triumphalism. Why should I fee a little guilty about jingoism?
The short answer is that I shouldn’t.
I shouldn’t be ashamed to be competitive.
Those people who dislike competition have their own reasons. There are loads of great non-competitive things to do like join in Shakespeare 400 or watch some proms or walk in the hills . We have these Olympics once every four years and they are not a burden!
I shouldn’t be ashamed to be British – Great British.
The people who won our 60 something medals, and those who didn’t but performed with such credit show an astonishing diversity. I don’t want to pick out names, but you only have to think of the interviews to realise that the national lottery has made winning at sport , something that anyone can do. Our Olympic success was not honed on the playing grounds of Eton, we had centers of excellence around the country , our winners were as female as male, class, creed and colour has been no obstacle to Great British success.
Britain has turned itself in the past three Olympics from hapless to losers to ruthless winners.
I should be proud to be British – Great British
Whatever we voted in the Referendum, we are heading out of the European Union and will have to stand on our own two feet. For all the problems this will cause, there are new and unexplored opportunities. We will best exploit these opportunities if we are confident – proud even,
I have no problem with Theresa May making political capital out of this success, I don’t mean party political capital- this is nothing to do with Conservative politics, I mean a wider sense of national pride based on the real positives we have experienced over the past weeks.
I like to see areas like Manchester and Yorkshire boast their regional roots, but I’m also happy that these medals were won under a Great British flag that meant you were as much a part of the team if you were from Northern Ireland as England , from Scotland as from Wales. I don’t even stop to ask which regions contributed most – that is not relevant in such a team performance.
The political capital that Theresa May collects will be badly needed over the rest of her term in power and beyond,
Going it alone
I spent yesterday on my boat with a bunch of Brazilians and Italians – a wonderful day despite the weather. Of course I was proud of our performance but they were too.
Our global standing in the world in every sense is enhanced by our sporting prowess (and by the way we conduct ourselves), Our conduct in these games has been awesome.
We have not put the boot into Rio for its shortfalls, rightly so. But the achievement of London 2012 looks the greater for what has often seemed pretty shambolic. We created London 2012 in the four years after the economic collapse and delivered in the teeth of the odds.
Now we are taking on another great challenge, to go it alone without the help of our European trading partners and there can be better statement of intent as to how we go about it than our performance at the 2016 Olympics.
There is a fine line between jingoism and patriotism and we cannot allow ourselves to think there is merit in isolating ourselves. The spirit of the Olympics, like that of the Commonwealth, European and World games should be inclusive. But within the terms of the competition, to be winners, as we are, is something to be very proud of.
I am proud to be British and Great British and incredibly grateful to the dedication of our athletes, the coaches and all the volunteers that make me- and the Nation- feel this way!