One of the downsides of living for so long in Australia as a patriotic, sports-loving Brit was getting used to losing. Pretty much all the time.
Sure there were some glorious exceptions – the 2003 Rugby World Cup (13 years ago!) and the triumphant Ashes tour of 2010-11 – but by and large it involved eating a great deal of Green and Gold coloured humble pie.
Cricket, Rugby, Rugby League. It seemed that every time there was a match-up between Australia and the Old Country, it was the aggressive, competitive Aussies who would ultimately triumph.
With the upbeat and raucous London 2012 Closing Ceremony over and the British public reluctantly waving a tear-stained farewell to the departing athletes, we are now all hoping that the Olympics-fuelled euphoria can somehow become the start of a new era of British positivity.
One word that I have heard bandied about a great deal over the last fortnight is ‘Pride’.
A few days ago, opinionated Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson sent out a rather revealing Tweet.
Having been one of the (many) critics of the London Olympics in the lead-up, he too was forced to re-evaluate hi stance, tweeting “Off to America today. Trip planned months ago to get away from Olympics. Thought it’d be dull. Mistake. Big mistake.”
As the Olympics enter day seven, it is a case of so far, so good on all counts.
With blanket media coverage and large crowds thronging to the venues (except, of course to those where the so-called Olympic family has selfishly demanded loads of tickets and then not shown up to watch) it is fair to say that the British public has embraced the spirit of the Games.
12 years ago, the opening ceremony proved to be something of a watershed in the fortunes of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Prior to that, the lead up to those Games had been riddled with concerns – transport, ticketing, security, costs, cynicism and just a general crisis of confidence – “can we do it?” or “what if we mess it up when the eyes of the world are on us?”.
Omega have quite a claim to fame – “official timekeepers of 25 Olympics”.
I dare say they must include Winter Olympics in this definition as well, otherwise I can imagine their role in the first of those 25 (Summer) Olympiads some 100 years ago would have involved some top-hatted official whipping out a fob watch to record the finishing time.
Today UK Athletics announced their final squad for the Olympics and in so doing, helped to realise the dreams of some athletes, whilst also shattering the hopes of many others.
Elsewhere, other UK sporting bodies have also been busy making their own final selections as they reach tough decisions over who they believe has the best chance of delivering those all important medals for Great Britain in a few weeks time.