The first full day of Olympic events. Such things as rowing, archery, gymnastics, dressage and swimming. None of which, apart from swimming interest me a great deal, although, of course, if Great Britain is competing then my shouts of encouragement are for them. The field events, I believe start in the Arena, on Tuesday when there will be many events in which I shall be interested. I imagine, in the meantime, there must be a massive clearing up exercise to do following last night’s Opening Ceremony. The consensus appears to be that our Opening Ceremony was a great success. We sensibly problems did not try to match the Chinese in their staggeringly brilliant ceremony in Beijing but instead tried to show the world the things that make us what we are. The rural pursuits, which are as valued today as they were one/200 years ago; the dramatic effect of the Industrial Revolution and the changes it brought on rural life. To achieve all of this in the short time available and the limitation of space that could be dedicated to any particular aspect, was brilliantly achieved. Despite the inevitable changes that the Industrial Revolution wrought on the country, the typically British activities, both in everyday rural pursuits and in the field of sport, have survived to reflect what the world has come to expect are typically British pursuits.
It is pointless me describing what most of my readers would have seen for themselves. Even the most primitive settlements in almost every corner of the globe have access to television and so will be as well, if not better, informed than I am. That being the case I think, my approach over the next two weeks will have to be biased in favour of the home team.
Bearing this in mind, today’s results were disappointing. We were expected to win at least one gold medal in the cycling but we only managed one silver and one bronze. So we now appear in 16th place on the medal table. Last Olympics I seem to remember we picked up most of our medals in the cycling and sailing; but few in the field events. Nevertheless, in the final tally, we still managed to finish fourth in the medal table with China and America being number one and two and from memory, I think Australia were third.
Historically, the home team always outperforms previous records. No doubt much of this is down to the millions of on the spot supporters I think this will be a big ask, this time, as our performance in Beijing, was probably one of the overall best ever achieved. But, as I said before, the Olympic spirit is more to do with how you played the game than whether you won or not. Try telling that to the athletes. The split seconds difference between the gold and silver medals seems to be devastating if it is you who has failed by those split-second decisions to achieve what you may well have practised, tirelessly for hours, day in and day out, to achieve