Preface: Is too many gold medals a bad thing? How it's good to expect the worst in Britain.
Every classroom has one. The Type A. The student that, if they aren't top of the class or even show a foible, their entire psychological being would deteriorate. Their very meaning for existing would vanish.
This schoolyard stereotype can be exercised across all forms of life. Even the Olympics. The framework of the minds lust to achieve excellence can be showcased all across the sporting event.
"The United States has over twenty medals, we have four" I say to my mum.
"That's not surprising" she replies.
This retort is universal, appearing that the norm apparent across most of the British public is that it was "...not surprising" that we held a rather lacklustre medal collection. Especially upon comparison to our neighbouring great powers the USA and China. Both of which (at the time of writing) have a combined total of over 70 medals. As if to say that this was the expected outcome of our athletes life-long endeavours. One or two medals in sports that we don't really care about and didn't even know qualified as a sport.
Imagine if this ethos was was held in China. So used to winning in sports. So used to success. It's more or less unfathomable for China not to win a gold medal. It borderlines unnatural to even say such a thing. Much like the expected fruition of the States place in the Medal Charts. Could you even envision the front page of a newspaper... With the US last place? No. The clear and honest answer, is no.
But here in England, we don't hold such anticipations. Sure, we do want our valiant sports men and women to conquer their fields and get the gold. And they have on some occasions. Except this stigma has been intertwined into our modern society to such a degree, that our minds are programmed to expect us to lose. So when we actually triumph, it can be compared to an eclipse; it doesn't happen often, but when it does, it's incredible.
I feel sorry for China. Winning all those medals. I'd rather have the excitement of a completely and utterly unforeseen win than something that occurs so often it that it's borders breathing.