Olympic Rant #15 Third-rate Stuporpowers declare war
THE rivalry for Olympic medals between Great Britain and Australia is difficult to understand if you are not from one of the two countries. It is impossible for the surprisingly large number of Americans who think Australia is a European country near Germany.
Jessica Ennis helps GB leap over Oz
Australia which is my home country was invaded by England in the 18th century to establish a penal colony. Much if not all of the lingering hostility of a nation of guards versus a country of prisoners is a concoction of the countries’ respective media (many owned in the same interests) and is fought over sport.
The most genteel of the British media refers to Australians as colonials when an insult is required. The more brash English papers call us convicts.
In Australia the war is fanned by our media reprising an insult by an English tabloid, preferably on its front page.
For variety, Aussie media relished the rather restrained earlier front page from the Sun: Wanted. Gold Medal. Australia’s Sydney Morning Heralddecided that headline was a screamer but it was tepid because Sun journos knew the gold medals would come for Britain.
Hell, even the Mad Mayor of London went out on a wire to declare Britain could win more medals than Australia. In what passes for a pep talk in Tory circles, Boris Johnson told British athletes before a pool lap had been swum in anger, ‘Can we beat Australia? Yes, I think we can.’
You can see how classical studies have sharpened Johnson’s analytical mind to allow him to predict the host nation would accumulate more goodies than a team of athletes which had travelled across the entire world to compete.
Still it was relief for both countries to win their first individual gold. It seems individual gold is worth more than a team one. That’s capitalism for you.
The feats of both medal winners were insipring.
British heptathlete Jessica Ennis was robbed of a chance for Gold at Beijing 2008 by injury.
By contrast, Australian laser sailor Tom Slingsby went into the Beijing Games as world champion. He finished 22nd at the Chinese Games.
Another contrast was the relative celebrations. In typical Aussie style, Slingsby went to the pub with family and friends.
Ennis and cycling gold medallist Bradley Wiggins were special guests at a boutique gig by the Stone Roses. Led Zep’s Jimmy Page was in the audience.
Wiggins even got to party with legendary British muso Paul Weller formerly of The Jam, The Style Council and individual projects. Who knew Wiggins wore an mp3 player when he won the Gold?
Let’s all share in the great win by Ennis by playing the Officially Unofficial Great Britain National Games Anthem.
While we are in the mood for congratulations, let us hand out to three outstanding achievements. First Officially Designated Naughty Nation Iran collected its first ever Olympic Gold in Greco-Roman wrassling through Hamid Soryan’s gold in the 55-kilogram class. Iran had collected a swag of Olympic medal in freestyle wrassling but none in Greco-Roman. On Monday, Omid Noroozi made it a double for Iran with the gold in men’s 60-kilogram Greco-Roman wrassling at the London Olympics. Reports by Tea Party members that Iran wrasslers threatened their opponents with nuclear weapons proved unfounded.
Kirani James, 19, of Grenada won the Olympic 400m in 43.94sec. He is the first athlete from outside the USA to break the 44-second barrier. His gold was also Grenada’s first ever Olympic medal.
Pavlos Kontides won Cyprus’s first medal at an Olympics when he took the silver on Monday in sailing`s Laser class.
Bernie Dowling, August 7, 2008