The only Olympic successes so far have been the ladies’ football and the male gymnastics team. Both have excelled.
OK, so the ladies haven’t won yet - but what an attitude! What a display of skill and confidence!
Let’s not ruin it all by suddenly predicting that they’re going to win the gold !
The gymnasts did not have the heavy weight of expectation crushing their shoulders and were totally brilliant. They won a surprise Bronze medal which was easily worth its weight in Gold!
Contrast that to the real medal hopes: Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield in the synchronised 10m platform diving event .“You miss one dive and you’re gone,” said Daley. He probably meant “Get every dive right and you win a medal”.
Mark Cavendish, another 100% medal hopeful came nowhere in the long pushbike race. Once again, too much pointless pressure had been exerted on him – you could see that from his tears when he finally showed-up – in 29th position.
Sailor and multiple Gold Medal winner Ben Ainslie is another “cert” who appears to be struggling and will no doubt feel gutted if he achieves anything less than perfection. Currently, he is lying a tantalising second but has two on-form Danes to contend with.
There are a couple of things at which we Brits excel: Synchronised moaning and over-optimism.
We’ve been doing it to the national football team for years but we never used to do it to our Olympians – until that is, they tasted real success in Beijing.
Suddenly, we expect – no demand about 50 medals in total, together with a shopping list of who will win what. That’s ridiculous!
They do all merit our unconditional support but remember, these are young people who neither deserve nor need the pressure generated by a nation so starved of consistent sporting success.
Even GB football coach Stuart Pearce has said “We are aiming for Gold” - merely to appease the media, one suspects. “We may win, we may not but will run ourselves into the ground trying.” would have been much better.
So how are we going to stop “assuming” whilst maintaining belief and motivation, instead of behaving as we do at Christmas time when the biggest kicks come from pre-present-opening anticipation, followed by the bitter taste of crushing disappointment.
Let’s just ask our sportsmen to “aim for a medal”. The rest will take care of itself.
Yesterday, in the 200m butterfly final, Chad le Clos beat Michael Phelps by 0.05 secs. Phelps may well have been briefly upset by both the minuscule margin of his defeat and by the fact that he missed out on a gold medal. However, he accepted and held that silver medal as if it was the gold. One suspects that he would have been exactly the same had he won a “mere” bronze.
The important thing was that he took part and did his best. Corny? Yes – but that is the ultimate that we should expect.
We do have it in us to take on and beat the world. That’s our destination.
We just need to think a bit more about the route we take.
(Of course, I was NOT including Helen Glover and Heather Stanning who have just won Team GB’s first gold medal of the London Olympics in the women’s pairs rowing!!!! Fantastic!)……and, of course , not forgetting Bradley and his unfeasibly quick pushbike! But then again, the normal rules of human psychology don’t apply to our Mr Wiggins!