The emergence of a new British identity
Well we are well into the second week of the London 2012 Olympic games, and there have already been many fantastic and memorable moments across a wide range of sports. There have been some awe-inspiring performances on the track, on the bike, and in the pool. Being British I am delighted with the truly wonderful haul of medals by Team GB so far (with still four days to go). Team GB is already the most successful British team in the modern age amazingly sitting third in the medal table. While all of this has been inspirational and exciting, for me the thing that has made me unbelievably proud to be British has been the simply breathtaking attendances, in the main, by the British public at every single sporting event.
The enthusiasm for the Olympics has been unprecedented. It appears that a love for sport, any sport, has become a fantastic aspect of what it means to be British. The opening ceremony for the Olympics was the start of this redefinition of what it means to be British for a global audience, but since then, in a more subtle way the British public have been demonstrating with their feet, hands and voices another aspect of what it means to be British. For two glorious weeks (so far) there has been a shift in the public and this has been picked up by the media. Newspapers, television and the radio is currently dominated by stories of success built upon many years of hard work, sacrifice, commitment and motivation. Attention, respect and accolades are being bestowed on worthy recipients rather that the depressing ‘celebrity culture’ that has grown in recent years with media outlets (and in part) the British public obsessed with the lives of people who are celebrates because they have been on television. I think it is time to redefine what celebrity means. Surely celebrity should come from the idea of someone to be celebrated? Let us celebrate those people who deserve respect and recognition rather that people who simply appear in the media.
I am proud to be British and would be proud to belong to a country that celebrates achievement. That is why the last two weeks has been so fantastic, seeing the country wake up from its celebrity-focused culture to respect and appreciate wonderful sporting performances built upon hardwork, commitment, motivation, and above all a vision for what could be achieved. These individuals provide fantastic role models for the whole country and in particular the young. This is a great starting points and if we can progress to celebrate the scientists, doctors, writers, musicians and others who truly are experts and represent human achievement we would become a society that appreciates and rewards the most aspirational of human qualities. Now that would truly be something to celebrate. So here is to the Olympic games and everything it has done for the British public in the last two weeks. We appear to have found, or rediscovered, a sense of what it means to be British, and I for one like it. Go team GB!
Let me know your thoughts and views. Why not leave a comment or start a debate?