Have you got the brace 'n' brits that the Poms are doing well at the Olympics? Peter Hanlon does:
SOMETHING utterly jaw-dropping has happened at these Games, and it has nothing to do with a tall man with the weight a nation on his shoulders stumbling before the first hurdle.
The Brits have overtaken Australia on the medals table. This darkness has descended, and yet there has been no declaration of national emergency. Clearly, Kevin Rudd hasn't been the same since trying the Great Wall red at the opening ceremony dinner.
Hanlon is obviously doing it hard putting up with GBH of the ear'ole from cocky cockneys all over Beijing, but you know something - over here in my splendid isolation, I'm not.
I'm ambivalent to Team-GB winning medals. Mainly because there is really only ONE sport that matters. In the unlikely event you need a hint: that sport rhymes with Kick It! But also because it’s a tidy reminder that when countries other than Straya, ones with larger populations and even larger GDPs (a GDP on HGH becomes a GDR - think about it), start throwing money at rowing, swimming, shooting, horsing, bicycling, etc like we do, we will struggle to match them in all but our pet disciplines.
England cottoned on to our little scam after Sydney 2000, instigating their lottery scheme. But just wait until India and their Burgeoning Middle Class start flexing their cheque books, not to mention their muscles, rifles, rackets, pistols, yachts, barbells, bows and arrows, nose pegs, etc.
Prediction: You think the Arms Race was big. Now that English sport is scooping pots of money from a national lottery scheme and kicking arse at these games, it's surely only a matter of time before we do the same. Medalotto, anyone?
TELL 'IM 'E'S NIGHTMARIN'!
Get a grip, Malcolm. Rowing, cycling and sailing are NOT the Ashes:
NOT again! And so soon. Opening the paper to find the Poms ahead of Australia on the gold medal tally was reliving a nightmare.
It had that same heavy, groggy feeling of suddenly waking on the couch during that fateful early morning in 2005 to find Australia had lost the Ashes.
Old chum Simon Barnes is a bit quick off the mark, what:
EXCUSE me, but this is Britain we're talking about, isn't it? As in Plucky Brit gets fourth. As in Plucky Brit says it was my dream just to be here. As in Plucky Brit says making the final was my gold medal.
Britain, a country in which we are used to quarter-final exits on penalties, Ashes whitewashes, lost and bewildered rugby champions, and the annual Day 1 round-up of the Wimbledon wild-cards who have bitten the dust.
Yes, that Britain. The one that the Australians laugh at, the one Americans hold in contempt. Well, you're talking about the country that won nine gold medals in the course of an epic weekend of Olympic sport.
While Rafael Benitez thrillingly decides that he's not leaving Liverpool and Frank Lampard even more thrillingly decides he's not leaving Chelsea, out in the real world of sport, it's been one British victory after another, nine golds over the long weekend that started on Friday night.
It's like waking up to find yourself an East German.