In the Olympics, the country unites. As a nation, we all support the same team, the same athletes and target the same goals. So when athletes achieve them it feels like we – the country, the people we meet with and live next to – have won and can celebrate together.
There is no greatest day in the history of British sport. Just in the same way that there is no most beautiful woman in the world, it is entirely in the eye (and all the other senses and emotions) of each and every human being.
For me, the greatest sporting moment is either ‘Istanbul’, when Liverpool lifted the 2005 Champions League trophy, when Kauto Star regained the Cheltenham Gold Cup or perhaps even when I scored a goal for Spaxton Junior FC in a cup semi-final. These things play to entirely different emotions. For football the club system means it is about getting one over on your mates – of endured rivalry, loyalty and victory. It is club v club and when it comes to nation v nation the UK is divided and success limited.
So, if you were to sum up, in utilitarian units, the pleasure and emotion across the country on a single sporting day, I believe the middle Saturday of the London 2012 Olympic Games would come out the best.
From rowing in the morning to cycling in the afternoon and athletics at night, it provided everything: the deepest despair of Hunter and Purchase to the utmost euphoria of Jess and Mo.
The courage, hard work and talent of Pete Reed, Andy Triggs Hodge, Tom James, Alex Gregory, Sophie Hosking, Kat Copeland, Dani King, Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell, Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah and their coaches will have provided many, including countless inspired children, their greatest sporting memories.
For everyone in the country, to be able to share in the day, taking place on our own heroic little island, is something very special indeed.