The host country truly was Great Britain. London delivered a rousing Olympics. I wasn’t in Beijing, but the consensus is these were the most organized, enthralling and enjoyable Games since Sydney in 2000.
The English-snob caricature is often pawned off as a societal narrative, but it doesn’t fit anymore. The U.K. hasn’t had that high opinion of itself for a while. Slate-gray days of rain. The gradual drain of global importance of a once-omnipotent empire, all the wrenching losses their national teams have suffered on the soccer pitch.
As my friend Ian Whittell of The Times of London explained, “We’ve been Cubs fans longer than Cubs fans. We’re naturally pessimistic. Even with the Olympics. We were convinced the transportation system would fail. When that didn’t fail, we were convinced the teams and athletes would.”
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