So proud..

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When you look at the Rio medal table after last night you’ll see some quite amazing figures, there is the USA with 38 gold in 1st place and China with 22 gold in 3rd, then sandwiched in between us Great Britain with 24 gold. The USA has roughly 330 million people, that’s 5 times more than us, and China with more than 1.5 billion !!!! that’s about 20 times the population of us. How incredible is that, even the independent and unbiased observers would be impressed. I can clearly recall in the 70’s that GB was very mediocre and that Germany and France would often lead the European nations and Australia and Canada might also be ahead of us. The London Olympics were great and probably saw the start of this amazing change, not just in the physicality of the GB athletes but also the mental fortitude, the internal belief and confidence that success was a genuine possibility.

Yesterday although I’m not a great lover of the equestrian part of the games I watched Nick Skelton win gold, he’s 58 now which seemed strange to me as I remember when he was the young member of the team, when Harvey Smith was “The Man”.

But it was last night that moved me almost more than any of the Gold’s because although there wave been some brilliant wins in the games, the wins came from athletes, rowers and cyclists that we all expected to do well and had a realistic chance of gold. But last night I watched the women’s hockey, not a sport that’s particularly interested me. But after beating the New Zealand “black sticks” in the semi-finals they played arguably the best team in the world, the Netherlands. GB scored first,  then the Dutch got a goal, they were playing so much better, it seemed that every time the got the ball they mounted an attack which seemed constant so inevitably they scored again. Against the run of play GB also scored making it 2-2,  but the relief didn’t last long as the relentless attack saw the Netherlands get a third. At this point I thought it was still good that GB had reached the final and would get the silver which was still very good. But the “never give up”attitude of our girls paid off as we got a third, at this point I was praying for the final whistle and the slim chance of winning on penalties. When it ended on 3-3 it felt like we’d won just knowing that being level with the best in the world was a tremendous achievement. Then it was time for penalties, hockey penalties are very different to any other game, nothing like football or rugby. Anyway at the end of the 5 penalties, our girls had won, it truly was so moving, I was completely overwhelmed and was pumping my arms and cheering with tears in my eyes.

I was so proud to be part of team GB even if it was just as a spectator.

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