i Editor's Letter: Let's concentrate on the moment


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The Independent Online


It’s now more than 24 hours since Andy Murray beat Roger Federer to win an Olympic gold medal and I’m sorry, but I’m still wandering around in a little glow of happiness. We British don’t like to  think of ourselves as overly emotional. There is a view that succumbing to an expression of nationalistic fervour is somehow demeaning. It’s the sort of thing the Americans might do.

The BBC is criticised for showing the emotional reaction of its commentators to Mo Farah’s amazing victory; it’s condemned as a contrived display of sentiment. And there are superior smiles at the idea that because our athletes are doing well, we might feel better about ourselves.

Oh for goodness sake, lighten up, people! We are so busy with our endless negative self-analysis in this country, it’s a wonder we ever have time to win any medals at all. Do you think the rest of the world’s nations ever stop to wonder whether they should feel patriotic or not, or beat themselves up about whether a sport is “middle-class”? Of course they don’t. They just get on with training their sportsmen and women to the best of their ability, and celebrating when they win.

Can you imagine a member of the Royal Family or a government minister giving the sort of pep talk Michelle Obama gave Team USA at the start of London 2012? She told them: “Try to have fun. Try to breathe a little bit. But also win, right? In the end winning is good.”

Yup, winning is good. Let’s clear all the junk out of our heads, take a deep breath and concentrate on the moment. That’s what our athletes are doing, and it seems to work for them.

Stefano Hatfield is away

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