Summer’s here, and for those of us in the UK who are not travelling abroad, there is only one focus for our attention other than the usual changeable, unpredictable and occasionally lamentable weather: the Olympic Games, London 2012.
Lord knows I have found plenty of reasons not to be particularly proud to be British in recent years: from economic decline and cultural bankruptcy, through outsourcing and offshoring; social indolence, greedy and dishonest bankers and inept politicians, civil and industrial unrest, to underhanded, unscrupulous and vindictive members of the media.
I have to say though, that watching the Olympic Games has somewhat restored my faith in my countrymen, and in human nature in general. What I have witnessed for the most part, are dedicated, self-disciplined and hard working individuals committed to their individual and collective goals and particular passions, often with comparatively little by way of obvious support or publicity, for no other reason other than to look back and say that they have been all they can be.
The unity, sense of international community and common ethic is palpable, and even though the games are by nature a competitive event, they show far more promise for the collective human race than any politician, banker or economist that I have ever seen. They even put to shame many other professional sportsmen; especially if the sport in question is the English national obsession of Premiere League Football.
At the time of writing, Team GB is performing pretty damn well in the overall standings with an impressive medal haul; but this is beside the point: I have seen great athletes from many other nations performing with dedication, dignity and pride too. These Olympians, often out of the limelight for years between games outside their communities and the realms of dedicated niche sports fans, are without a doubt, inspirational to us all. So let’s salute them all; wherever you are from, they are your heroes too. There to remind us, when we most need reminding it seems, to be all that we can be.