There we sit on our sofas cheering when one of our lads dives in a pool or kicks their someone round the head or paddles down artificial rapids, and cheer even louder if the opposition makes a pig’s ear of things.
We only do it because they happen to be part of Team GB, but let’s be honest, these are sports that we wouldn’t otherwise switch tv channels to watch – they’re only watchable now because there are gold, silver and bronze medals at stake.
As I said, like everyone else, I can’t help but take a degree of national pride when I see Team GB sitting second in the medals table and admire the skill and endurance of the athletes involved.
But I do take exception to patriotism when it degenerates into parochialism as we saw when Alistair Brownlee waved the Yorkshire flag along with the Union Flag after winning the men’s triathlon and the inevitable crowing about how that country heads this or that country on the medals table. It’s not something other countries do, I mean, ask yourself, when did you see a US winner waving their state flag?
It began as a tongue in cheek observation during the 2012 London Games, but seems to have carried over to Rio for no obvious reason. If we start breaking down the medal tally by inner homeland geography, where will it end? For example, I could argue that 23 of Team GB’s medal have been won by athletes who are from, live or train in Manchester. But I won’t.
However, I can already hear the gnashing of Yorkist teeth at the announcement that the great national welcome home party will be held where it truly belongs – to the west of the Pennines!