It sounds like boasting to say — and as you know British people do not make claims about their prowess — that it sits pretty well with us sporting types to be British at this moment.
Having issued the disclaimer about boastfulness, well, we are perpetual winners in sports year 2012.
Most recently there was Andy Murray’s victory in the U.S. Open tennis tournament when he defeated Djokovic and at last got his hands on a major trophy and when he looked for the first time as if he actually caused the holder of the cup to say to himself: “Hey, this guy makes me shiver.”
Murray’s progress through the swollen ranks of tournament players has been steady rather than spectacular. It is seven years since I asked a famous tennis correspondent if Murray could win a major. “I am told it is a certainty,” he replied. “His footwork, his wrist position and his sheer determination that makes it so.”
It is not so much that Rory McIlroy wins golf tournaments but that Tiger Woods, whose days may have gone, says the Irishman can take the place Woods held until his family problems and the death of his father and mentor upset his rush to immortality.
Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France which is about as natural as a Tibetan being named one of Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year, our footballers are making satisfactory progress towards the finals of the 2014 World Cup and if our cricketers are out of sorts and off the top of the world rankings ladder, well, we know they are a good side. They are also young enough to make it back.The football authorities have concerns about Wayne Rooney who has returned from his summer idleness a lot heavier than his managers can stomach and the whole of cricket is waiting for England to sort out its differences with Kevin Pietersen who has only one problem.
I am afraid poor KP will be collecting his pension when Lord’s catches up but freelance players, taking part when they please is far from an impossible concept.
The trouble is that the men with their eyes closed at Lord’s where the 19th century is called tomorrow’s world are lagging behind once again.
Britain’s final reason to be proud of our sporting achievement has come to many of us by way of the television sets.
We have spent hours of our lives watching spectators watching our Olympic heroes claim gold, silver and bronze medals until they struggled to carry their triumph home.
Then those who had loved both the ordinary Olympics and the Paralympics swarmed on to the streets of London to celebrate all over again.
City men raised their top hats, mothers lifted their children shoulder high to get a glimpse of the athletes, newspapers wrote about nothing else, Channel Four TV station devoted its day to the Paralympics.
I swear we have smiled more in the last month than in the previous year.
We laughed, we cheered, we wept and, best of all, we celebrated not just the British triumphs — whether fully fit or wheelchair bound — but the success of foreigners and we gave a new welcome to men such as Mo Farah, born in Somalia and now so British he has given a new word to the language.
His ‘Mobot’ can be seen everywhere. He is bound to receive a knighthood in the special Olympic awards and I hope the Queen performs the ‘Mobot’ after she taps him on the shoulder.
It is no more than he deserves.