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.
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.”
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?”.
And so the Olympic flame is back in Britain for the first time since 1948.
Its arrival follows a week of pageantry in Greece, culminating in the flame from Mt Olympus being transferred to a British torch (which promptly went out) whilst an austerity-sized package of 5 doves were released into the air.
The British delegation comprised a rather unlikely and eclectic team including flamboyant/crazy London mayor Boris Johnson, Lord Coe (or ‘Seb’ to the rest of us), Princess Anne and, of course, David Beckham.