Success on the running track, in the swimming pool, in the velodrome and out on the rowing lake is just that. Countries whose athletes come together to put in world beating performances may be economically independent and strong - like the USA - but they may also just dedicate more resources to getting their elite sportspeople to the top of their particular tree. In the Olympic Games, economic might does not always triumph.
So it has been not just in London four years ago, when Team GB came third in the medal table, but now at Rio de Janeiro, where Great Britain is currently second in the medal haul, above China and with only the USA ahead of it. What a difference from 20 years ago at Atlanta, when the British came home with only one gold medal - won by Steve Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent in the rowing. Lottery funding and grants made all the difference.
So far, so straightforward, but for those who advocated for a withdrawal from the EU in June’s referendum, this was an opportunity to hijack British Olympic success, to use it to bolster their cause. First out of the traps was former UKIP leader Nigel “Thirsty” Farage to tell his adoring followers “Go @TeamGB! Loving the Olympics. We are good enough!”
See, it was all about plucky Britain standing alone, although Nige’s fellow Kipper Patrick “Lunchtime” O’Flynn was more cautious, with “UK position in Olympic medals table clearly not caused by Brexit - but upbeat coverage is a great antidote to Remainer whingeing nonetheless”. Yeah, we’re great, so stop moaning, OK?
The direct correlation - that actually doesn’t exist - between voting to leave the EU and Olympic success was echoed by Dominic Farrell: “Little Britain, small island can't stand on its own two feet in the world, 2nd in medal table”. He was not alone.
Steve Powell was just as enthusiastic: “#TeamGB are demonstrating every reason why a proud sovereign independent Britain will succeed post #Brexit”. No connection at all, and for those thinking we’re doing best per head of population, er, no we aren’t. Australia and Jamaica are still ahead on that one (hello Usain Bolt).
Back with the Kippers, there just had to be an intervention from Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam, former bag carrier and drinking partner of Mr Thirsty, who sneered “But I thought we weren't BIG enough or STRONG enough to "go it alone" against the world!??”
And no faux connection between leaving the EU and sporting success would be complete without the contribution of Dan, Dan The Oratory Man, who served up a total not sequitur with “Extraordinary performance by #TeamGB. If France and Germany were a single country, we'd still be ahead”. Not ahead of the USA, though, Dan.
It was left to Iain Martin - not exactly a Europhile lefty - to bring the bad news to the Outers who had escaped the gravitational pull of the planet Reality, reminding them “Public service tweet: #Rio2016 and British medals nothing to do with Brexit either way. Unrelated. No read across whatsoever. Thank you”. Quite.
The Brexit brigade have been clutching at straws again. No change there, then.
Could actually be argued the other way. it has been pointed out that most of our competitors have been born and have trained whilst UK has been in the EU.
An of course we are still in the EU until someone decides to invoke that article 50.
For the future, if outside the EU, it might well depend whether pockets will be hit for lottery funding and company sponsorship deal levels and whether tax levels from The City can be maintained to continue grant funding by Government with a lot of priority list decisions.
Maybe Farage and co are longing for the days when the UK took on the USA single-handed in the Ryder Cup...and regularly got hammered.
Last time I checked, we were still in the EU.
Using Kipper logic, shouldn't we be celebrating that we're winning all these medals thanks to Europe?
I see the sun's shining today. Can we chalk that up to the Brexit vote as well?
Scotland and N Ireland voted Remain. Brexshit may mean there isn't a Team GB in the 2020 Olympics.
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