The Washington Post

At Olympics: Proud of USA, Proud of Brits

Ryan Bailey of the United States after scoring a goal against Montenegro in a preliminary water polo match on Sunday. (Julio Cortez/AP)

Mitt Romney’s gaffe-tastic visit certainly helped unite this complex, multi-cultural country in record time. (My prize for best Romney diss goes to former White House economist Austan Goolsbee, who tweeted “Romney in Gdansk: Lech, thanks for being here. And hey – how about that shipyard there? Is that a rusting pile of crap or what?”)

But it was more than just #romneyshambles that’s pulled this famously standoffish island nation together over the last few days. Personally, I still have no idea what Danny Boyle was after with that opening night extravaganza.

I only drank two Coronas but am I right that there were two countdowns instead of one? And who was that dude strumming the guitar? I know one thing: I’ll never be able to look at Kenneth Branagh with a straight face again.

Croatia guard Iva Ciglar battles for a loose ball against the United States during a basketball game on Saturday. (Charles Krupa/AP)

I also dare any city to top the seven-minute journey from London St. Pancras to Stratford on the Javelin train. Door-to-door, I was on the Olympic grounds in less than an hour from my Northwest London home.

Still, it must be said that despite the pride I felt in the Union Jack on my journey into the Olympic park, as soon as I stepped inside the basketball arena to watch the USA Women’s team play Croatia, the stars-and-stripes side of my identity came roaring back with a vengeance.

What a team of talented women. Just seeing them come out onto the court – the deserving beneficiaries of Title IX – made me swell with pride. I’m not normally a terribly patriotic person, but I belted out the national anthem with so much enthusiasm that my eight year-old daughter actually asked me to quiet down.

Mitt and Ann Romney during the Opening Ceremony (TOBY MELVILLE/AP)

It was a great reminder of the drive and enthusiasm that is so quintessentially American and that I’ve lost touch with after living abroad all these years.

And in the end, all my worry was for naught. Turns out, I can live here in London and be proud of the complicated, cosmopolitan, courageous city I call home, while at the same time cheering on my never-say-die compatriots like the best of them. Take that, Mitt Romney.



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