Gold medal pedantry
I've been thoroughly obsessed with the Olympics for the last couple of weeks, which wasn't really what my circadian rhythms were crying out for following the late-night viewings of Euro 2012. The opening ceremony, the sporting brilliance and the presentation of the UK as a multicultural and forward-thinking nation have all been a balm to a soul exposed to years of the ultra-cynical Premier League.
Nevertheless, I will forever be a pedant and, in particular, a linguistic pedant. So a few points of order are required.
The female athletes are not girls, they are either women or, y'know, athletes. Commentators please take note. Caveat; I'll allow the use of ladies, but only in the equestrian events.
Being exceptionally good at running, jumping, swimming or a combination of the aforementioned does not make you a hero. Heroes are folks who sacrifice themselves for others, as in soldiers jumping on a grenade or single parents working themselves sick for the sake of their kids.
This is a stickier one because the word is used in more than one way, but to me it is absurd to say that the Olympics have made me proud to be British. I think that in order to be proud of something I must have done something for which I can take credit. I am proud of my marriage, I am proud of my children, but I cannot feel pride about the fact I happen to have born in the paradise that is suburban Essex.
Let's just say that these tremendous Olympics have made me feel honoured, and indeed privileged, to be British.