At the weekend we were treated to breathtaking sporting displays from the courageous and loveable human Bambi incarnation, Mo Farrah; perpetually grinning, six-packed TV advertiser’s wet dream, Jessica Ennis; dour, English-hating, National Anthem warbler, Andy Murray; and, of course, that bloke we’d never heard of who did a big jump. The sporting feats of the weekend, which also included cycling, sailing and rowing victories, have already prompted debates about funding for future generations of potential British Olympic stars, linked to the interminable hot-air fest that is the jabbering on about the Olympic legacy. But what are the lessons learned from the Olympics so far?
1. The French are still very French
The Olympics did not start particularly well for Team GB, as Mark Cavendish, generally assumed to win gold, let the nation down badly by finishing at a humiliating 29th place in the road race. Many people, myself included, called for him to be banned from cycling completely and made to live out his remaining miserable years on The Isle of Man. Other medals seemed to be hard to come by, and the first few days of the Games looked bleak for Britain. Cue French smugness in the form of none other than President Françoise Hollande, who suggested that London had “rolled out a red carpet for French athletes to win medals”. Indeed, what a git. But when the medals began flowing Team GB’s way – particularly in the velodrome – and our Gallic cousins began to falter, every man, woman and force-fed duck in France began casting aspersions on the reasons for our success. Isabelle Gautheron, France’s cycling big boss woman, had nothing concrete to say on the matter, but she did not allow that to impede her from saying it anyway:
“Do they [Britain’s cycling team] have a technology? A secret preparation? We have to do sports intelligence to know how they can be so strong,” she haw-hee-haw-hee-hawed through gritted teeth.
The French press were equally eager to offer barbed but entirely vacuous remarks about Britain’s sports stars, this time about toned national treasure Jessica Ennis:
“Ennis? She’s a bit unreal. Wonder how she could win the 800m so easily, with no pain. Surprising,” Sur Le Pont-ed a journalist in Oust France recently.
|France earlier today|
2. The Australians are still very Australian
Challenging the French for gold in magnanimity in defeat are the Australians, who have had a disappointing Olympics so far. During the weekend the collective Aussie ego took a pummeling when rivals New Zealand briefly became tenth in the medal league table. This was apparently too much to take for the childlike ‘win or die’ mentality of Australian sports fans, so much so that one television broadcaster decided to only show the top nine nations in their medal table graphic, in an attempt to disregard New Zealand’s superior position and prevent Bruces all over the country watering down their already pissy beer with manly tears of sporting frustration.
|Australia earlier today|
3. The British are still very British
Despite what has so far been a successful Olympic Games in general for Britain, we still tried our best to dick it all up. In order to make the biggest impact we waited patiently for the biggest event of the Games, the 100 metre sprint final; a fantastic spectacle in which all but one of the competitors ran the distance in under ten seconds and arguably the greatest sprinter in history ran the second fastest time ever, despite a hesitant start, in order to win in spectacular style. Britain did not have a competitor in the 100 metre final, but not to be out done, we did what we do best and sent a drunk vending machine worker from Leeds to the event in order to yell abuse and throw a bottle at the competitors.
That’ll learn em.
|Britain earlier today|