Rick Telander and Rick Morrissey share their thoughts

Homerism, British style

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LONDON -- I have officially reached the end of my rope.

On Saturday, I watched the BBC's Olympics coverage and am now convinced that the Brits would be more than happy if every event were limited to British athletes. The network and its announcers want to cheer on Great Britain. That's it. The rest of the field is navel lint. These people would applaud for a parade of lethal toxins if the vials featured the Union Jack.

The bottom was reached when rowing commentator John Inverdale fought back tears on the air while consoling Great Britain's Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter after the pair failed to win gold in the lightweight men's double sculls.

"Emotions ... emotions ... goodness me,'' he said, pausing to take deep breaths. "Especially when you know these people and you know them pretty well, it's quite hard being here as well.''

Listen, snap out of it, old chap. Start acting like a professional. You are not on the team. You are not in the same boat as the rowers. You are not supposed to be sharing tissues with the competitors. You are supposed to be describing the race, analyzing what happened and telling a story.

Lest you think I'm picking on TV, the newspapers haven't been much better. I opened up The Independent on Sunday morning and read story after story about Great Britain's athletes, the glory they brought to the country and the disappointment the nation shared with them. Pages were filled with photos of British athletes competing, crying, celebrating, hugging and quite possibly humming "God Save the Queen.'' The rest of the world was somewhere out there in a distant, foggy blur.

I understand national pride. I understand a country wanting to put its best foot forward. I'm from the U.S. -- I understand the desire to win everything. But the Brits have managed to shrink the Olympics to field day at a British school. Someone needs to tell them there's a whole big world out there. Something tells me they know and don't care.

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This page contains a single entry by Rick Morrissey published on August 5, 2012 3:37 AM.

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