Hollande twists the knife over France's success

French president told Cameron that Europe would pool its medals so Britain would be happy in the EU

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Indy Politics

It wasn't that long ago that our rivals in Paris were enjoying the only bit of sporting action they would get to see in the flesh this summer: a Brit bicycling down the Champs Élysées in a yellow jersey. But revenge is evidently an hors d'oeuvre best served froid.

While Team GB are yet to secure their first gold, the French have been cleaning up in the pool, and at the canoe slalom course, with a glut of gold medals that leave them behind only the Chinese and the Americans in the medal table.

Much is now being made of "The Curse of Cameron". The Prime Minister was present and correct for Tom Daley and Peter Waterfield's diving disappointment, as well Mark Cavendish's defeat in the road race. Prior to the Olympics, Mr Cameron watched on as Andy Murray was crushed by Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final.

Now the new French President François Hollande, right with the PM, has got in on the act. He thanked Mr Cameron for "rolling out the red carpet" for French athletes – an undisguised dig at Mr Cameron's red carpet jibe on welcoming French tax exiles to the UK – and told the British not to worry about the poor initial showing, saying that, never mind, Europe would pool its medals so Britain would at last be happy to be in the EU.

Talk about twisting the knife, Mr Hollande announced that France would be likely to bid for the 2024 Games, having learned lessons from London. "The problem is that there are simply too many corporate seats," he said. "We don't talk of money, we talk of gold."

But, fear not, there are reasons to be cheerful. Un, deux, trois, and indeed, quatre. The Prime Minister will not be attending any Olympic events over the next couple of days. Relief, then, for the likes of cyclist Lizzie Armitstead in the women's individual time trial and weightlifter Jack Oliver. The man of the hour, Bradley Wiggins will also be in action today. The rowing finals begin this morning, with serious gold medal hopes for Britain in the men's eight and the women's pair. The latter set an Olympic record in qualifying. And the medals are soon to be dished out at the sailing in Dorset, another British bastion.

And tomorrow, Team GB's Pringle-shaped house of gold, the Velodrome, finally opens for business. A nation hopes that, in the ever so slightly amended words of the non-official Olympics wheat-based snack provider, once you pop, you can't stop. Not that the French would ever eat such a thing, of course.