British medals at Beijing Olympics … and 2012?

What on earth has come over our aimless, feckless, hopeless youth?

Shurely shome mishtake, I keep saying to myself. They must have the wrong country.
As the news has rolled in from Beijing, and as the world’s televisions have throbbed incessantly to the strains of God Save the Queen, it has been increasingly obvious that some kind of apology is owed by press, pundits and politicians to the youth of Great Britain. I mean, this is us, for heaven’s sake: the Brits.

Only the other day, it was confirmed that our kids are the fattest in Europe. We have so many nearly-spherical children that local councils have announced their intention to take them systematically into care.

We drink so much, and so incontinently, that our bladdered ladettes are the scourge of every Mediterranean resort from Faro to Faliraki. We beat all-comers when it comes to teenage pregnancy, and we have the edge over much of the developed world in illiteracy and innumeracy – and yet look at our team in Beijing.

If you believe the British press, the youth of today is aimless, feckless and hopeless, addicted to their PlayStations, lacking in respect and lacking in the emotional discipline needed to cope with a big match occasion.

If you believe the politicians, we have a broken society, in which the courage and morals of young people have been sapped by welfarism and political correctness.

And if you look at what is happening at the Beijing Olympics, you can see what piffle that is. Do not adjust your set: that really is a collection of smiling, well-balanced young British people, giving pleasingly self-deprecating accounts of how they have managed to haul in medal after medal after medal.

At the time of writing, we seem to be hovering between third and fourth place in the league table, and we deserve it. Some of these British competitors are showing fantastic guts and determination.

I don’t know if you were watching the coxless fours, when our guys started to fight back against the Australians, but there was a moment when the commentator lost it completely.

His voice went all squeaky, and in the tones of a trod-on frog he started urging us all to hurl encouragement at the television set – and we did, didn’t we? We yelled at those rowers to eat up that Aussie lead, and it worked.

In fact, the only sport at which we do not currently appear to be excelling is the national sport of running ourselves down. The armchair cynics – and I have occasionally been one – have been taking a terrific pasting.

There are some voices – and from time to time I may have been among them – who have caustically observed that the British athletes are “brilliant at sitting down”. By this they mean that a large number of our medals have been won in financially intensive sports such as riding, rowing, sailing and cycling, where victory can be achieved in a sedentary position.

It has been observed that these sports have high barriers to entry, in the sense that horses and bikes and boats are expensive, and that Lottery-fuelled British athletes have an advantage over competitors from poorer countries. Well, whatever the truth of that argument, it simply does not apply to so many British achievements over the past few days.

Rebecca Adlington knocked an amazing two seconds off the 800m freestyle, a record that has stood for 19 years; and I have to say that when she finally took her head out of the water and flung her arm up in the air, I had a lump in my throat, and my feelings could be described as sentimental incredulity.

She doesn’t come from some sun-drenched Californian sea-resort. She hasn’t spent her childhood amid the balmy breezes of Bondi beach or Surfer’s Paradise. She comes from Mansfield, which is not the kind of place where you walk around in a swimming costume, even in August.

I suppose the sceptics will protest that excellence in swimming is still reserved for those who can find a swimming pool, and that the real test is track and field. But even there the Brits are no slouches. Everybody has been talking about Usain Bolt, and the dominance of the Caribbean countries in the sprints.

A learned article in the Financial Times has suggested that the West Indian climate is helpful to sprinters “because muscles like to be kept warm”.

Well, if that is the case, how do you explain the achievement of Britain’s Jeanette Kwakye, who came 6th in the women’s 100m? She hails from Chingford, and, whatever the delights of Chingford, it is not famous for keeping your limbs warm.

We have just won our first medal in gymnastics for 80 years, a demonstration of geo-politics at work. This event used to be dominated by the blank-eyed children of the Warsaw Pact, drilled to perfection by the threat of the gulag.

Now the Soviet Union is dead, the politburo is no longer demanding medals, and Britain is leaving the Russians trailing in the medals table. Why? Is it because our young athletes want to please Comrade Gordon? I don’t think so. They just seem to want to win, for any number of reasons, and in so doing they cheer us all up.

Let me conclude with one of the most astonishing of all the statistics about Team GB.

Roughly 58 per cent of the contestants we sent to Athens in 2004 were educated at independent schools – schools of a type that educate only seven per cent of the general population; and, in the past three Olympics, the independent sector has walked off with 45 per cent of the medals.

Now there will be some who find that a sad fact, a depressing commentary on the relative lack of investment in time and sporting facilities in our schools. But let us look on the bright side. What that statistic tells me is that there is a huge untapped reservoir of potential athletic genius in the maintained sector.

Imagine if we ensured that children had better access to the facilities they need. Imagine if we stamped out the last vestige of the politically correct nonsense that for so long dominated the educational establishment, and militated against competitive sport, and its indispensable concepts of winning and losing.

Imagine, in other words, if we could use the inspiration of this Olympic success to encourage children throughout our educational system. Think what they could achieve in 2012.

[Ed: This article was first posted in the Daily Telegraph on 19 August 2008 under the heading, “ What on earth has come over our aimless, feckless, hopeless youth?”]

51 thoughts on “British medals at Beijing Olympics … and 2012?”

  1. Boris you are so right, I worked for Social Services until the loony lefties drove me to distraction. Running the community service scheme,I discovered so much talent, It often takes initiative ( albeit displaced ) to commit a crime, many of these kids had little hope, because nobody listened to them, or gave them the slightest nudge in the right direction. I liked most of these kids I praise and encouraged them, but grew as frustrated as they were at the lack of interest of anyone who could have helped them. Both the Social Services and the Education System are run by lefties. These kids need competition, need to win something to increase their self esteem, most crime is a move to increase their standing among their peer group. Boot camps are a fantastic idea, as long as they are run by people who like children,whose aim is to help them find some purpose in life. If Social Services were to run it ,it would be doomed from the start.

  2. Dear Boris,
    I have already sent an e-mail regarding an open-top bus parade through London when all the athletes have returned. It was done “at the drop of a hat” for the winning back of “The Ashes”!! What about a bigger arrangement for all the athletes and their support teams with no expense spared?
    Go to it Boris!!!!
    Kindest regards,

  3. The case for school vouchers becomes ever stronger. The local authority should give every child a credit representing the cost of basic schooling, to be spent where they like, then get out of the education system’s hair completely.

    This entry in Wikipedia gives us a taste:

    In Sweden, the conservative government that held office in 1991-1994 introduced a voucher system at primary and secondary school level, enabling free choice among public and independent schools (friskolor) in the community.

    The system gained such immediate popularity that the succeeding Social Democratic government found it impossible to revert the reform although they have always held strongly negative views on “private” schools.

    The only major change the new Social Democratic government were able to institute after 1994 was to prohibit extra fees beyond the value of the voucher – this measure was designed to counteract social segregation in the private schools.

    Overall, public support has remained strong – segregation has not increased, and various educational models have been able to establish themselves on a broader basis (most notably, the independent Montessori schools have also influenced the educational model of the public schools).

    (The author is un-named but the article is unchallenged).

    Come on, Boris. Come on, Dave. This could be your finest hour.

  4. Rebecca Adlington is a goddess and no other description does her justice. She broke through the waves like a young Artemis or is it Diana, and those magnificent shoulders carried her to the finishing line. She was an endearing combination of shyness, modesty and openess and when she threw her red roses to her mum, I DID cry, what a lovely, lovely girl.

    Ben Ainslie rules the waves, apparently he had just recovered from mumps. Yes, we should use the inspiration of this success to encourage kids everywhere, and this country has got to start believing in itself again and build on the huge pride engendered by the medals won in these Games. We beat Australia in the last two rugby World Cups, with funding we have come third in the medal table at Beijing, we have the talent and the spirit and the passion! All we need is a new government to propel us to a hugely brighter future. Come on Boris, come on Dave!

    ps. and thank you David Beckham for speaking up against knife crime and I wish other celebs. would follow your lead, particularly the young stars of music and screen who set the trends in what is cool.

  5. Dear Boris, could we please before the Olympics come to London make sure everyone involoved knows which way up the union Jack is supposed to fly. At the moment in all the gold medal presentation we are unable to watch the flag being hoisted up because the Chinese have managed to put it upside down each and everytime. The athletes proundly wrap themselves in the flag and rightly so I may add, to have their photo’s taken also with the flag upside down. This would be a real shame when the Olympics are being held in our own country no one actually knows which way up our proud flag is supposed to fly. We need to make sure whether they be flags on sticks or being hoisted up a flag pole at least they are right,we could end up being a lauging stock otherwise.

  6. We now have 16 gold medals, 5 moRe than our nearest rival, Russia, who has eleven, and Australia has eleven as well. Oh this is so great, our athletes are making the country so happy. In our newsagent, everyone was slapping each other on the back, and marvelling. WELL DONE TEAM GB!

  7. The first thing that I would like to pass comment on is the point that Boris was making about our ‘near spherical’ children, and the fact that they would probably be more ovoid and less rotund if local councils provided more in the way of funded leisure facilities. That would also give the 93% (58% of the 2004 squad came for private schools) of children who are not educated at private schools the potential to take part in such an event as the 2012 Olympic Games.

    I must admit that I do not believe everything I read in the press but Boris seems to be labouring under the misconception that the Olympic athletes (and well done to them, by the way) are representative of the country’s youth as a whole. The youth of today, almost universally lack respect for their elders, and I must say I was once the youth of today and whereas I did not respect my elders either, I did not let them know that I did not respect them.

    I would also like to say, and surely Boris you must realise this, there is quite a fine line between self-depreciation and running ourselves down.

    Another bone of contention is with your comments about ‘bladdered ladettes’. They, surely to goodness, are not the scourge of Mediterranean resorts but the making of them. I do not have a problem with incontinent drinking (I myself have been known to drink a few light ales), unless it is coupled with a lack of excretory control.

    Finally, the way he talks of teenage pregnancy anyone would think that it’s a bad thing. Under 16 yes, it is a bad thing, not to mention illegal, (exit stage left Mr Gadd) and taking your baby to a crèche while you are at school is not the most glamorous of pursuits, however I see nothing wrong with a 19 year old woman having a baby, to a 25 year old husband who earns enough to keep them, the baby, and pay his taxes.

  8. When I was at school we had school cooked dinner, compulsory games/P.E. three times a week and playing fields to excercise. Then they were ‘encouraged’ to sell the playing fields, the dinners were outsourced and school cooked became turkey twizzlers, and PE sort of became optional and it wasn’t Gordon’s lot who did that. So when I read Boris talk of near spherical chidren it makes me wince. There are links you know:- dirty hospitals/privatised cleaning. On the other hand, apart from that I find myself pleasingly in agreement with Boris. Public (lottery) Spending financed our athlete’s training and it just goes to show what good public spending can achieve. Well done Team GB – you make us proud.

  9. Well done Team GB – you make us proud. (Psycho)

    I hope you mean Great Britain and not G***** B****! It was John Major who started the Lottery.

  10. Yes, Paul, well said it was John Major who thought of the lottery scheme to finance sport and the arts.

    I was talking to a financial journalist today and she said it is absolutely right in her view that the Labour Party have wrecked the economy of this country. The worst thing, in this lady’s opinion, was the appalling inability to make a decision. They dither and dither, she quoted the example of stamp duty, but she totally agreed with David Cameron, Gordon Brown will probably try to grab credit fot the Olympic success but he is absolutely useless.

  11. And if he doesn’t grab credit, he’ll be criticised for being a bad politician in not doing so. The man can’t win.

    So go ahead, grab John Major as the unlikely hero…(!)

    And yes, well done to the GB Olympic team – it has been good to hear.

  12. Helena, GB (the Scottish one) has no business taking any of the credit. His government, in particular his loathsome education minister Ed Balls, has been doing its best to wipe out the very schools that produced the bulk of winners.

  13. Helena, I have a sneaking admiration and affection for John Major! He fought his way up in life from being a bus conductor. He is such a kind, tactful man, and people who accuse him of being a bad Prime Minister forget how many elections he won and that later in his administration, he had such a small majority he was very hampered by what he would like to do, and had a tough time from some of his own party. It was no picnic following Maggie Thatcher. He loves cricket and he is no snob, he was a great negotiater as our European allies will testify….. John Major was OK!

    But I can always tell from the way you write that you are the sort of person i would really like, so I hope your historical reading is going well!

    ps. Paul, Ed Balls is the pits!

  14. Has anyone noticed that a lot of the sailing and rowing gold medallists seem to have rather public schooly accents? A gold medal means less if it’s been won by an overprivileged member of Henley Rowing Club.

  15. Ooph, and what kind of inverted snobbery is this? I don’t agree. Everybody should have the chance to win medals. A society where either class rules at the cost of the other is not worth a dime.

  16. A gold medal means less if it’s been won by an overprivileged member of Henley Rowing Club.

    Of course. You must have been reading all those Olympic reports in the world’s press saying “That medal is worthless. Didn’t you know they row at Henley?”

  17. Now now Boris. It is still possible for Britain to have umpteen gold medals AND a broken society. For a start a lot of our medals have been in sports like rowing and I have spotted old Oxbridgenses in the teams – not that that takes one iota of their achievement from them but it does not explain away or compensate for council estates deprived of aspiration and hope.

    The theory of how we might have both these things might be called “Two Nations”, I believe some chap wrote about them once but it sounds stinkingly left-wing to many Tories today so instead we brush it under the carpet.

  18. Good for you Helena! This is the sort of twisted thinking that blames people for having gone to a public school. Logically, if you blame people for being well educated, or privileged, why not also blame people for being good looking? Or talented? They are all states that are accidents of birth. Sure, hound the handsome, talented people in life and say nasty rude things, or gang up on lottery winners! PIFFLE.

  19. Hmmm… well Iv just been watching that program about ‘know your family’, very good-I dont do politics but I have seen and heard Blonde Boris over the years and I think I find a fella who really is very normal…

    Have a look at maybe I add a Boris link???

    Iv enjoyed reading and looking through this site of the Blonde one!!!

  20. Just want to say well done and we are hugely proud of all Olympic competitors, even if they did not win medals. Everyone gave it their all, and they competed, and even if something went wrong, they all gave their hearts and souls,You are heroes to everyone in this country whether or not you won medals, thank you so much, the country is bursting with pride.

  21. Instead of fighting wars we have no business in, we should be building tennis courts here, we may then produce some winners and keep teens occupied with something to strive for and enjoy.
    All other sports should be made possible for anyone that wants to partake and sometimes excel. It beats standing on street corners and drinking, also sport creates self esteem and healthiness.

  22. Historical reading?… uhmm, uhmm, er… what?… I’ve suddenly woken up… uhmm… right… er, yes… right! (I see I’m in serious danger of getting a detention here)…

    Angela, well done for reminding me. Yes. I’m on the case. Definitely. Uhmm… first on my “things to do” list for the weekend. There. Hah! Decision made. O bliss of bank holidays… here I come…

  23. boris take a look in the mirror before you talk about round people and leave my young daughters/men alone one ma one phd in nuclear fusion one undergrad interior design one undergrad sound engineer all work hard and detest the bullshit that pours out off politicians such as yourself…you think the games would be good then you pay for them we have better things to have our heavy taxes spent on

  24. Mr Van Den Bergen,

    Firstly, how dare you insult Mr Johnson! We need more politians like him who are prepared to do something about the state of the youth in Britain. Being 19 myself, I hate being tarred with the same brush as others my age, but the fact is there are more stabbings and shootings than ever, and more and more young people find it acceptable to carry knives and – let’s just face it – aren’t afraid to use them. I’m sick of hearing about innocent teenagers being the target of gangs because they looked the wrong way. What sort of country are we living in when you can’t look at someone out of fear of repurcussion?
    We need capital punishment; some sort of system that punishes those who deserve it. There is no room left in the prisons – and frankly, that would be a soft option – but we cannot continue to allow this to happen. I’m becoming more and more disheartened with the way this country – MY country – is tolerating these youths. Something has to be done. I understand your children have gone to university and have good qualifications, but does that mean kids in inner-city Birmingham or London have the aspirations or motivation? Quite clearly, it doesn’t.

    To Mr Johnson,

    You are ace. =]

  25. Dear Boris
    I tried to hear you on the Saturday news programme but as you rightly said you were continually very rudely interupted. You must continue to adopt the tactic of that deep NOOOOOOOOOOO – it seemed to put him off his stride.

    I hope you are able to have your way and not overspend on the Olympics the rest of us need the village playing fields that FIT (formerly the NPFA) has been supporting and protecting but is now short of staff due to cut backs!!!!!

  26. Mr Johnson,
    I am not normally a person who voices one`s concerns, but in this instance I feel I must. Whilst I appreciate that you have a style of your own, it would have been in keeping had you smartened up at the handover ceremony in Beijing. Your example of slovenly dress and hands in pocket style is certainly not the way to present Britain to the world, nor is an example to the youth of Britain. You certainly let the country down big time.

  27. A message for Boris:

    You were great at the Bejing closing ceremony.
    Just the sort of representation needed for GB.

    I’m sure you won’t mind me admitting that as well as being proud, it was my most funniest Olympic moment too.

    Hopefully, humour will be a big part of 2012, along with contemporary music, dance, & fashion.

  28. Dear Boris,

    I am British, but live in Shanghai. I just watched the closing ceremony of the Olympics. Although the London part of the performance was excellent, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed when you walked into the stadium.

    Before the 2012 London Olympics, can you please talk to someone about the correct protocol and dress code? Walking around with your jacket wide open and waving when everyone else is standing on ceremony – you represent Britain in front of over 2+ billion people. Frankly speaking, it didn’t look good.

    This is meant as a recommendation, not criticsm. I just want to be a proud Brit when it comes to 2012, just like 1.3 billion Chinese were with their performance.

    cheers and good luck!

  29. Boris, I’ve just seen your speech at London House Beijing. You should be knighted. You have shown EXACTLY why our Games will be better than those in China… because we know how to have fun and we don’t take ourselves too seriously.

    The line about “Ping Pong’s coming home” is a CLASSIC. It will be remembered for a long time.

    You are a star. I wish I could vote for you but unfortunately I live in Essex. Can’t you run for PM??? I’d vote Conservative again then!!!

  30. ‘Ping pong is coming home’ was the best quote of the whole Olympics. Genius.

    I think most people will agree that this games has done a lot of good for the country. It is such a great feeling to see the Union flag and hear the national anthem!

    It would be great if you personally backed a campaign to get every school in the land to fly a Union flag as a standard part of the school day. I don’t mean US style flag worship, but in countries like Japan national pride and tradition is taught to all children and promoted internally by politicians and this is one of the reasons there is so little crime and disorder, even in a mega-city like Tokyo.

    Here’s to the Union flag and Team GB!

    Keep up the good work!

  31. Boris

    Sad to say but you embarrassed us last night at the closing ceremony! Being scruffy, awkward & nervous (hands fighting to get into pockets indeed) may endear you to us Brits but it damages London in a global setting – international audiences are less forgiving!

    Oh… while I’m carping, the need to bring the games in within budget is a given, so stop replaying that old record. Make them truly memorable (and within budget) and you’ll leave a worthwhile legacy

  32. I am sitting here in California, burying my head in shame at the British part of the Closing Ceremony. If 2012 wants to project that Brits are a nation of drunken slobs then they couldn’t have started better than with you, Boris. What a disaster. You looked like you were coming out of a pub, not representing a great nation. Belly out, suit jacket flapping, complete unease and unpreparedness at what to do with your hands, fumbling the flag. I’d swear you called the flag-bearer over to say “I say, chappy, I’ve had ‘nuf of this, get rid of it…”. Then you bellyflop his way off stage, slouching.
    Or maybe the committee figured they’d better set the standard now and surprise people by (I hope) bettering it in 2012.
    I’ve been hoping to come back to the UK for 2012. But if this is what I am to expect, I’m not so sure. Come on Boris – keep yourself in the background and get someone out there who gets it. You could have brought the house down with a neatly buttoned pinstripe and a “city” gait accessorised with a bowler and brollie. Did you know you were representing Great Britain, not “Little Britain”?
    This ceremony needed a sense of tradition, a sense of pride in one’s nation.
    I’d rather have seen Becks there. Or Princess Anne (ex Olympian) or Charles (he loves this country, believe it or not), or Seb Coe, or “The Queen”…
    This is meant as a recommendation, not criticsm. I just want to be a proud Brit when it comes to 2012.
    Someone email me when it gets better. Yes I’m an ex-pat, have been for about 28 years. But I still have a UK passport (only – I will never defect) and so do my foreign-born children.
    Whatever happened to London Pride? Oh, wait – I’ve got one in the ‘fridge. Cheers!

  33. I agree with Raj above… ‘It is such a great feeling to see the Union flag and hear the national anthem!’

    I totally agree, it has become trendy to mock your own country in some circles.

    I have been discussing with my work mates (A very mixed group, Black British, Chinese, Bangladeshi etc) And they all agree that Britain could be improved with a large injection of National pride. In fact it must become part of the National Curriclum to communicate historical values and shared culture to youngsters.

    How can communities be divided when we achieve such combined greatness in the Olympics? Bring on 2012!

    Our Union flag is a powerful international symbol, and a force for good, every child should know it and be proud of their country. There is nothing wrong with being; dare I say ‘Patriotic’! Lets reclaim the National flag from the idiots!!

  34. You did extremely well last night in the handover. I liked the relaxed and informal style you put on during the ceremony. Why should London had a One World One Dream style, but not One World Zillion Dreams? Your performance represent the fun and humour of London excellently. What’s the point of being so serious and stiff like everyone else?

    I am originally from China. I put the link of your talk on the Chinese forums. The Chinese audience loves it. The Chinese people really wish they could have a mayor who could feel comfortable with their own moves and bring the world a bit of fun.

    The only improvement I can think of for the London performance is: when the performers got into the stadium by bicycle, it would be thrilling to see you were riding among them. Beijing is a place all the officials had to show their status by sitting in a car even if it is just 2 minutes’ walk. If you rode bicycles together with the crowd, you would not only send a strong message to the Brits but also to the whole world. What is more, the Chinese public would start to demand mayors like you. That would be the true glory for Britain.

    But it is never too late. Many congratulations!

  35. Apart from your ‘nearly’ hands in pockets and flapping open jacket, I thought you were great! I can’t say the same for the 8 minutes highlighting our talent. After the excellence of the sport, the showcase was amateurish and wincingly embarrassing. We can do precision, talent and fun, but yesterday was definately not it! We are proud of being ethnically diverse, so any entertainment should be inclusive, but remembering our shared culture and Britishness, not jigging around in this modern ‘hip hop’ tacky way. Also,the newspapers being thrown away in a litter bug fashion was a wrong message. Can we stop saying Team GB as long as the Scottish person is at Downing Street, lest he should wish to claim the credit for himself? ‘Team Great Britain’ would be just that – Great!

  36. People above, which ceremony were you watching? Boris did not fumble the flag. He knew the importance of sorting it before he started to wave it, because when the previous person tried to wave it unsorted, it wouldn’t wave.

    Once he had sorted the flag, Boris waved the flag perfectly. Also, his hair was short and any tousled look was the wind…. Nothing wrong with not wearing a tie and the open jacket was the latest designer look, check the pages of Vogue for Men.

    The only thing wrong with the opening ceremony was the microphones didn’t seem to be working – you couldn’t hear Leona Lewis very well and she is a fantastic singer. You also couldn’t hear Jimmy Page’s guitar riffs.(and I wish they hadn’t murdered “Greensleeves”, but it was a lovely idea to play it.) Maybe Leona could have sung it in the original form, surrounded by lute players, that would have been exquisite. I liked the umbrellas as a symbol.

    Boris gave the wittiest speech ever, he obviously endeared himself to everyone he spoke to and I should just like to see anyone else do better!

    ps. I hate to raise this, but how much electricity was used in the Chinese displays, it must have been terrible for global warming!

  37. Boris you are the best,how they must hate you, at last a man who makes mistakes and admits it ,go for it all the way to number 10 ,you get my vote and im sure millions more

  38. Regarding 2012 and the opening and closing ceremony’s in London.Just a thought but can we use the Military Tattoo to open the games?. It would be spectacular and really show our history.We need some real Britishness!.

  39. Boris, I count myself among your biggest fans. I love the way you play the unwilling politician on HIGNFY, speak your mind when others are prevaricating and procrastinating, BUT…..your appearance at the closing ceremony, entertaining as it was to a fellow Brit, has left the Chinese baffled. Who is this “Bao Li Si” chap, they ask, who is supposed to be Mayor of London but who looks like he’s just turned up at the wrong event in his ill-fitting suit, with his hands in his pockets? I am based in Shanghai, and I had to explain to my Chinese teacher why, as a journalist by trade, you felt “uncomfortable” in your new role as Mayor of London. A great number of Chinese, honestly, felt you were taking the p!ss.

    When you are in your role as Mayor of London, Boris, you really need to take the ceremonial side of it more seriously. Otherwise you risk heaping opprobrium upon the “Great British nation”, as you like to call it, by your very own actions.

  40. “A gold medal means less if it’s been won by an overprivileged member of Henley Rowing Club.”

    Absolute nonsense and the worst kind of inverted snobbery. By this standard a gold medal means more if it is won by someone from an underpriviliged background. On that basis you can mark down all GBs medals since most of us are hugely priviliged relative to those in most other nations. I don’t come from the most priviliged of backgrounds and I find this attitude terribly patronizing.

    But with regard to “Nothing wrong with not wearing a tie and the open jacket was the latest designer look, check the pages of Vogue for Men.” Don’t try to excuse ignorant sloppiness as intentional style.

    Sort yourself out Boris. You looked like a total scruff.

  41. I’d just like to say that your London House Wiff Waff Speech was a Classic. I can honestly say having someone like you in Charge is a breath of fresh air. I would comment though that it might have looked a bit better if you came across more formally dressed in the Closing ceremony. Other than that First Class…. I also believe sincerely that you would make an outstanding PM. We need someone who isnt afraid to tell it how it is sometimes.

  42. Boris, you’re on the right path but you very much need to get the press on your side.

    This Saturday, 30th August 2008, over hundreds of people are coming together for a Charity Fiesta ( to raise funds for stepUP, a new youth coaching foundation that has had phenomenal success working with troubled teens in New Zealand and is now being launched in the UK & Australia and South Africa next year. But do you think we can get anyone in the UK press to mention it?

    Wouldn’t it be great to open the paper and see that the media had launched a campaign to work with the public to break this current cycle of youth crime and violence?

    Let’s not forget, the youth of today are the leaders of the tomorrow. That’s a very scary thought right now!

    These children have the potential to be amazing, but we need to offer them opportunities to realise how amazing and wonderful they can be. And yet, when a group of concerned citizens take action to put this change in motion, not one London paper assists them in getting the word out to the rest of London so that Londoners can support it???

  43. I think Boris did a great job at the closing ceremony. Not only was he funny in what he said, he also seemed totally relaxed in his role as the Mayor. The Chinese and indeed the world should not take the Olympics too seriously; it is after all just a game.

  44. I´m a “gone-wrong” labour supporter – just couldn´t bring myself to do the 1997 thing – sorry Tony. I agree Boris just a wonderful mayor and so refreshing to have a serious politician with a sense of humour – his speech had my son and I in tears of laughter. I think what Adlington shows us is that it´s not the facilities or huge sponsorship deals, but just the sheer love of sport and the desire to excel that´s motivated our GB sportspeople. I personally think we´ve been living in an age of mediocrity – where success and excellence are pushed to the margins and the “excuse culture” has dominated. What Adlington and her family show us is that success is hardwork and grit determination. Although, facilities help you don´t need an Olympic pool to become a champion.

    Similarly I grew up in a family of twelve children – funds and parental attention were slim pickings – today ten have University degrees, none have criminal records (not even a speeding fine), all have jobs and families. If you want something enough you go out and get it period!

  45. Of course, we have both types of youngsters as Boris describes. The Beijing ones grow up with love, example, discipline and good teaching; the others don’t.
    Peter H

  46. dear Boris

    Iam ten years old but still think you should be prime minister as Gordon Brown has sent out a law saying dont drive cars that guzzle to much petrol,and yet, he drives two Jaguars. I think this is quite a ridicoulous thing to do.
    From T om Foster

  47. Dear Boris

    I live in the london borough of havering andthe local council has inform us that we have too many schools in the area and have decide to combine two of our schools. The school they are going to close has a beautiful playing field which is used for sports days and local junior football teams,it is in a quite cul de sac overlooking green belt land. The school that all the local children are going to attend is on a busy road surrounded by houses and no sports field,in view of the coming 2012 olympic games this seems like madness to all the young mothers whose children are losing the chance to enjoy a good school in pleasent surroundings and encouraged to take part in sport.

    yours sincerely

    Mrs R.Lake

  48. There was more chat about Boris’s unbuttoned jacket at the flag waving ceremony than about some of the gold medals.

  49. Boris, you’re a legend.

    The youth of today, I believe, are grossly misrepresented in the media. According to the news, the government and any adult without close contact to teenagers, we spend our days in gangs, harassing people simply because we can, running loose with drugs, alcohol and any implement that could be used as a weapon. Last weekend, I performed in a concert with a group of peers for the local community and the only comment that could be made was that the (mostly older) assembled group didn’t even know young people were taught musical instruments any more.

    Honestly? Gordon Brown should give more funding to diverse sports clubs and incite young adults to try new things. The people in gangs and the ‘hoodies’ that society seems to fear do have skills, and many of them would probably be sporty if they had the local clubs available.

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