It would perhaps be too much to say that panic is setting in, but after the grand opening ceremony, which had so many proclaiming Britain the place to be, the public in GB are waking up a little disappointed.
After the first day Team GB have no medals.
A lot is being made of the empty seats at the stadiums and Ryan Lochte’s demolition of the field in the 400m individual medley –a field which included an out of sorts Michael Phelps –but the issue which burns most with fans is that no medals were won.
This comes after seven years of building the fans’ expectations. Those same fans have, however, achieved no instant gratification.
As Team GB’s swimmers clambered out of the pool, simply happy to be taking part in finals, there is an almost antiquated British appreciation of their efforts. Yet, after such build up, many are feeling a chagrin sting. Why have the great hopes not delivered?
Maybe expectations were too high, but the feeling of disappointment was unavoidable on day one. Mark Cavendish, who had been hyped for months, came in with a GB team largely made up of Team Sky’s victorious Tour de France squad.
They set up to deliver Cavendish to the final sprint, where few in the world can compete with him. The team got their tactics wrong, though, and ended up having to push for fifth.
The pressure on Cavendish may be too great, but this can also serve as an allegory. Britain clamored and clamored, talking in a frenzied manner about how everyone would pull performances out of the bag because it was a home Olympics. Absent mindedly they pinned hopes to ‘certainties.’
Even Prime Minister David Cameron fell into this trap, traipsing down to the road race final in the hope of pouncing on a photo opportunity with ‘Cav.’ He left, balked by a Kazakhstani-led breakaway.
Of course expectations are high, and will continue to be, but support and pressure are two completely different entities. With many more chances to come, the focus should be on telling the people who to get behind, rather than labeling them favorites and then being shocked if they do no snatch medals.