Brilliance of Being British
There are times when it feels good to be a part of one of the oldest democracies on Earth, belonging to a bulldog breed of men and women who understand courage in adversity, and how to celebrate success.
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Right now I feel so proud of my British heritage, because we showed the world, as a nation, just how good we are at organising, staging and competing in the greatest show on Earth, popularly known as the Olympic games. Danny Boyd could not have staged a more spectacular, diverse and touching opening ceremony. It was a fitting tribute to everything that makes Britain great, and 27 million people world-wide were thoroughly entertained.
Then came the spectacular successes of our sportsmen and women, epitomised for many by the incredible sight of poster girl Jessica Ennis winning her heptathlon event with several personal bests, Ben Ainslee becoming the greatest Olympic sailor of all time with his win, Sir Chris Hoy becoming the most decorated British Olympian of all time, and so many other British sports people thrilling and delighting home crowds with their achievements in so many different sporting disciplines.
It was such a joy to see those record crowds cheering insanely at every venue, lifting the spirits of every participant with that infectious enthusiasm and general feel-good atmosphere that seemed to pervade the whole of the 17 days that flew by in a superb flurry of golden achievement for British Sport. Rebecca Adlington and her two well-earned bronze medals, Tom Daly with his, The equestrian team with both gold and bronze in dressage – such a glorious display of understanding and control between horse and rider – the list is just endless, or so it seems.
The sense of national pride was thick enough to be cut with a knife as the games unfolded, and every day people were waking up eager to see which new gold medallist would emerge from the British team. Bradley Wiggins was a huge favourite, but there just so many, and every one of them truly did Great Britain proud. When it came time for the closing ceremony, the organisers once again proved how brilliant they were with the biggest global party you can imagine, celebrating all that is best in the history of British music, and even getting the Spice Girls to re-form for the performance.
This truly entertaining spectacle was topped off by two children’s choirs – one a signing group- - which I thought was very moving, giving a rendition of imagine by John Lennon. This three hour show allowed everyone to let their hair down, and celebrate in style what had been possibly the greatest Olympic games in living memory, and the greatest performance by a British team in over one hundred years. This truly was a time when, once again, being British was a matter of national pride and it felt so very good. I hope the legacy of these games will be far more than simply memories of an extraordinary time in British sporting history, and a continuation of those incredible feelings of camaraderie and belonging. What a stunning experience this was.