Wednesday, August 20, 2008
So who's not cheering on our athletes?
Tasha Danvers - a Great British Athlete
These are distracting times. I don't know about you, but I'm keeping an almost obsessive eye (via the BBC website) on our astonishing current 3rd position in the medals table. Frankly, it's giving me a nosebleed, and at any minute I'm expecting Russia to bag a hatful of golds in the women's tractor-pulling, and send us crashing down the rankings.
It's rather like the Football World Cup at Quarter Final time, or the Ashes. And on the very rare occasions when we get one over on the Aussies, there's always the pleasure of reading Down Under sports columns - especially those that take the post-colonial rivalry to exciting new levels of hyperbole.
Truly, the Great Bawl of China.
But wait, amongst this outpouring of shared national joy, one very small group of people seemed curiously unmoved. I refer of course to the British National Party and their fellow travellers.
Bizarrely, at a time when the national conversation is dominated by British success in the pool, the velodrome and on the track, the BNP site has nothing to say. If ever there was a time for flag-waving, this is it. Yet the BNP website is devoid of comment, save a surrogate thread bemoaning that the British award-winning dance group Zoonation will be performing at the Olympic handover ceremony in Beijing.
Being the BNP, of course, there's a gratuitous observation on the subsequent comment thread that Sports Minister Margaret Hodge has a Jewish heritage. Yet curiously, not a word about the most successful British squad in nearly 100 years. And all because some of the athletes don't conform to the narrow BNP racial steroetype of what it is to be British.
In a sense, you have to feel sorry for them, impotently trapped in their fading imperialist world whilst the rest of us celebrate achievement after achievment in China. It also serves to remind us however, just how apart the BNP's world view is from reality, and how hatred can blind.
Rebecca Adlington, Christine Ohuruogo, Chris Hoy, Germaine Mason, Victoria Pendleton, Joanne Jackson, Tasha Danvers - they're all fantastic Olympians and athletes the rest of us can be proud of. We can leave the BNP to their sad fantasy world.