I love the Olympics, especially when we are winning everything. I grew up in a Britain that failed monumentally at sport. Failure was part of our identity. I remember playing a village cricket match when word got around that the other team had an Australian. ‘That’s it then,’ people said, ‘we’ve already lost.’ ‘Does he bowl fast?’ said the more nervous players, more precisely me. Cricket, football, athletics, we could lose at pretty much anything. It was character building.
And now we are winning, I want a piece of the action. I want the gaming Olympics. Most of my body might be past its best, but my thumbs are still in excellent condition. I can still run riot on Halo or Call of Duty leaving a pile of virtual corpses in my wake. I have as much chance of making team GB as anyone. Imagine the spectacle: giant screens, thousands of screaming teenage fans, tense finishes to FPS deathmatches, record times on Sonic, terrible finger injuries in Track and Field. Gamesmaster with the whole world watching. And a whole new generation of sporting heroes. Perhaps slightly heavier, less muscular, less charismatic, built on a diet of Coke and burgers rather than protein shakes and chicken salads, but heroes nonetheless: lightning reactions, photographic memories and thousands of dedicated hours to pull off that winning shot under pressure. At the very least it would be better than watching badminton.