Tuesday 14 August 2012

Rocky road to Rio 2016

Filling in the faces for the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
So now that the most wonderful Olympics ever have come to a close with London 2012, and golfer Rory McIlroy has turned in a hugely impressive win at the US PGA, the speculation has begun on where he will hang his cap in the Olympic Village for Rio 2016.
Will the Hollywood, Co. Down wonder opt for Team Ireland or Team GB in four years time?
Some on-air speculation from Dublin today followed the increasingly familiar pattern of born-again cross-border deference to difference.
Golf champ Rory is up for grabs for 2016.
One contributor wondered if the new US PGA champion would go for Team Ireland given that the Golfing Union of Ireland financially supported his early professional golfing career development.
On the other hand, sure hasn’t he the choice by virtue of his birth in Northern Ireland to opt for Team GB? And good luck to him whatever he decides.
Where is the passion? Where is the tribal resentment? Has the very essence of our sporting rivalry been boxed to a standstill in the ring last Saturday night during the bout between John Joe Nevin and Luke Campbell? 
Instead, the airwaves gush with the milk of human kindness after the Friendly Games.
So here at the Frontier Post, we are left alone to shout at the radio that Rory should be ours because the official name for the British team pointedly excludes Northern Ireland. It is our job to keep an eye on such legalities of jurisdictional demarcation. 
In the after-glow of London 2012, even the most truculent and resentful must concede that Northern Ireland  is a de facto constituent of the United Kingdom (UK) of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but it most assuredly is not in the Great Britain of Team GB.
Furthermore, nobody thought to ask if the Team GB brand name would even be appropriate for Rio in 2016. Or would Scottish Premier Alex Salmond’s 2014 referendum on independence put paid to that?
Scotland's gold
If the Scottish Nationalist Party leader has his way, Team Scotland will be entering the fray in 2016 and Andy Murray and his fellow athletes will stand to attention on the winners’ podium for a rendition of ‘Flower of Scotland’.
In that event, could those of Ulster-Scots background (Graeme McDowell) opt for Team Scotland too?
Meanwhile, would a truncated team from the biggest island of the British Isles be renamed Team Britain. And would that then transform Team GB into Team B? Hardly the most auspicious acronymn for the fastest, longest, strongest etc.
I’ll bet none of the branding experts thought of this when they settled for Team GB over Team UK.
Maybe Rory should just declare for Team Ireland now and avoid all this uncertainty and embarassment between here and Rio.

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