Now that all the Olympic athletes have returned to their home towns, there are obviously going to be local celebrations throughout the UK, before and further national ones again in September or October.
Already, we've seen a number of open-top bus parades through towns and cities in the UK, and this seems to be the norm when welcoming home any kind of 'hero'. Where actual medal-winners are involved, this is perhaps more warranted, but here in Plymouth, where divers, Tom Daley (see previous post) and Tonia Crouch did exceptionally well to get to Beijing, and get creditable results there, neither actually won anything.
There's quite a lot of correspondence in today's Herald (the main Plymouth daily - no pun intended!) from people who think this is literally over the top. The civic dignitaries should invite them to the Council House, celebrate there, have a posh dinner, but that's all. If you're able to get hold of today's paper, you can make your own mind up. If not, take a look at the correspondence online and see what you think!
In these days where no one can be seen to fail, especially in the examination sphere, we are tending to want to praise even the most mediocre attempt. I'm not suggesting that our two city divers' achievements weren't really impressive, but I can't help wondering whether they're actually embarrassed by all this, and thinking, 'Well, we got an open-top ride through the city just for getting to the finals. Whatever will we have if either or both of us pick up an actual medal in 2012!' Yes, Rebecca Adlington had the bus treatment in Mansfield, but she did win 2 medals! And, at the end of the day, it's all a bit of a waste of money in times when we, as a country, cannot afford it! Furthermore, and as you can read online, it invites unfair comparison with the return of real 'heroes' to a city which still has strong service connections. Personally I don't want to detract from Tom and Tonia's success, or the celebration of this in the local community, but I wonder whether anyone actually asked them what they'd prefer!