You could be forgiven for not really noticing that the Olympics are currently taking place. The German team isn’t doing very well – they are suffering from fourth-place syndrome and missing lots of expected medals. First Brexit, the terrorist attacks and then the football European Cup have used up a lot of conversation and energy. Nobody is really bothered about the Olympics – especially as they aren’t going particularly well.
This is a strange situation for me. For once, Britain is doing something better than Germany. I did poke my head around the office door and shout “Guten Morgen Losers” to my colleagues this morning but it didn’t provoke the angry reaction I had hoped for. And before I knew it I was apologising for a recent gold medal saying it was only in dressage, which is just circus without the silly music if we are being honest.
I did enjoy watching the Brownlee brothers win the triathlon and noted that one of the boys chose a white rose of Yorkshire flag, rather than the Union Jack. If anyone around here would listen to me I would explain that those boys come from just down the road from where I grew up and they train in the same places I used to run. Unfortunately nobody is going to listen and my daughters already know the story well enough.
It’s been a pretty low-key Olympics anyway, judging by the empty seats on the TV every evening. The only sports that seem to attract a full house are those Olympic classics football and beach volleyball. These get quite a lot of airtime on German telly because they are quite good at them. It looks like the reason that most Brazilians go to these games is not to support their team but to boo and whistle at the Germans. According to the commentators, the locals are still smarting from being thrashed in the football World Cup two years ago. Now I am well and truly sick of seeing Germany win football games, but I don’t think it’s a good reason to boo them. If they had cheated or been particularly vicious then OK, but just for being better? So much for the samba-loving, free-wheeling, ever-smiling Brazilians. Turns out they are sore losers. Imagine if their football team was like England – then the world would really be in trouble. Anyway, I was pleased to see the German beach volleyball girls beat the Brazilians in the final despite all the boo-ing and whistling.
So instead of getting my revenge for all the stuff I had to endure during the football, I ended up congratulating my colleagues on the great beach volleyball victory and professing to be truly delighted that they’d put the hosts in their place. I must try harder tomorrow and do some boasting about all those cycling medals, the Brownlees, Mo Farah and that posh girl on the old nag that won the dressage. As I write Great Britain is still ahead of China in the medals table but tonight there is some diving. I fear China will catch up because they seem to have a secret establishment hatching perfect teenage divers. Never mind, surely there is another sailing class that nobody has heard of still to come so GB can climb back up the table for the weekend.
I’ll try out a little boasty Britness in the office tomorrow and let you know how it went. It feels very unnatural not to be apologising or making excuses but there’s a first time for everything.