Letter:Olympic history repeats itself

Sir: I fear that Godfrey Hodgson has missed the point in his otherwise penetrating analysis of the American dream ("US takes first prize for self-delusion", 6 August).

The trend within American society, discernible before the Reagan era but undoubtedly accelerated during his presidency, was away from big government and back to individualism. Enormous public funding of any social good was and is seen to be essentially "un-American".

The American way is for those with talent and or the will and determination to succeed through their own efforts to prevail, preferably overcoming massive obstacles along the way.

Consider, for example, arguably the biggest winner at Atlanta, sprinter Michael Johnson. During the early part of his career he was ignored and ridiculed by the athletics fraternity for his awkward style which was pronounced "wrong". Now, as a world record holder and Olympic champion in two major track events, his place in American sporting and cultural folklore is assured.

It is interesting, but ultimately pointless, to combine the medal achievements of the European Union and the European continent.

As Mr Hodgson obliquely concedes Europe is not united; it is not one country.

KOFI A DWINFOUR

London SE21

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