I don’t know how it was for you, but the supporters of Team GB had a jolly good time. On the whole, we like losing, which we do often and well, but it turns out we like winning even better.
And ever since we famously gave up our stiff upper lip the night that wayward princess didn’t buckle up for safety (or, as the Brits say, clunk, click, every trip), we’ve been following dear Rudyard’s advice, and treating triumph and disaster just the same.
Some press wag dubbed these the Crying Games, and he or she got it just right. Andy Murray warmed us up by sobbing through his Wimbledon Final runner-up speech a few weeks before the Games began, and he served up more tears after he walloped the same opponent and took gold.
One after one the winners wept through the raising of their flag as they choked out the words to their national anthem, while the losers have thrown themselves on the ground, inconsolable in their grief.
All this weeping put everyone in a good mood. Londoners stopped complaining about the Soviet-style appropriation of whole lanes of busy roads, open only to the “Olympic Family”, and hardly anyone is still muttering about the elderly men of the IOC, who resemble nothing so much as good, old-fashioned apparatchiks.
Never mind them, we medalled 65 times, and Team GB finished third in the tables. “Inspire a generation” is the new catch phrase.
I don’t think I am quite the generation they have in mind, but I am a very suggestible person. I am incapable of seeing anyone cry without tears streaming down my face, and the other day, filled with Olympic emotion, I joined the hoards of the all-choked-up queueing in the sports shop.
Reader, I bought a yoga mat and downloaded a running app for my phone. I’m assured that this will turn me from a couch potato to a 5k runner in only two months.
I haven’t done any running yet, but I did listen to the app. It says alternately every 90 seconds in a loud and cheerful voice, “Okay, let’s jog!” and “Okay, let’s walk!”. After 20 minutes of this it says, “Great! I knew you could do it!”
What? No blubbing?
As for the verbal use of the noun “medal” I refer sceptics to the OED, which sites such use as early as 1822 by no less a writer than Byron, and after him, Thackery. I admit I draw the line at “podiumed”. Whatever else it is, it’s a syllable too far, and I don’t think it will catch on, though it does add scope for an extra sob.