Guts, glory and golds galore!
That’s it for another four years.
Last night, the curtain fell on the 2016 Rio Olympics, which has been a sporting spectacle not without its share of controversy and upset, whether it be the shadow of drug cheating, the frat-boy antics of Ryan Lochte or the concerns over empty seats and a lack of atmosphere. Yet, strangely, we have watched far more of the Games than we ever expected to, even setting alarms and pulling an all-nighter on Super Saturday, proving that something special was happening across the Atlantic. Maybe it was the time-zone, but we certainly felt that we watched a far greater range of sports than we would normally have done, perhaps based on the fact that we would sit down in the evening and eyeball whatever the Beeb served up!
The overriding sense that the average Team GB spectator is left with is that this was the Olympics where we galvanised on the heady successes of London 2012 and showed that British sport is a force to be reckoned with, and emulated, on the world stage. Most people that have watched are feeling inspired by the true sense of comradeship and the absolute determination to win.
This has been particularly noticeable in the various apologies that have peppered interviews and virtual media from athletes that believed they had let themselves, Team GB and the country down by not performing as well as they felt they should have. Of course, other athletes, the media and fans alike have rightly leapt to reassure and praise them, as Team GB has performed better than it has ever done before, beating China into 2nd place on the medals table and bagging 66 medals in all.
There has been a lot of talk in Smash Terminator Towers about why we have been swept away on this inspirational tide of sporting excellence. One of the main reasons that we all agree on is that the Olympics has been a refreshing change from the jaded and cynical world of the Premiership and the disappointment of the recent Euros in France. There is something galling about watching vastly overpaid professionals merely go through the motions, compared to the passion and joy of the lesser-known athletes and competitors who live and breathe their sports, often at great cost to themselves and their families.
Two of our biggest professionals, Justin Rose and Andy Murray, showed that they can embrace the spirit of Team GB and use that force to drive them forwards. Used to being pampered and protected, both athletes happily embraced life in the Team GB Olympic Village, stating that it was the sense of being part of something greater than just their sport and individual success that made them determined to win.
That is the attitude that needs to filter across to other sports, particularly football. Perhaps, for starters, every premiership club should think about sitting the squad down and making them watch the Women’s Hockey Final. After all, that’s how you deal with penalties like a pro!