My French brother-in-law recently asked me over the telephone whether I was proud of the relatively good performance of British athletes in the Olympic Games, to which I replied that I was not; rather, I was completely indifferent to it. After all, the performance of North Korean athletes was likewise relatively good, for reasons having perhaps more to do with stick than carrot, and no sensible person would conclude anything favorable about North Korea on the grounds of the prowess of its athletes.
Personally I rank such prowess rather low on the scale of human accomplishment, and my own view is that the country that always comes out best from the Olympics, the only one, as far as I know, whose government takes a principled stand against official encouragement of such prowess, is India. Of course, being a free country, it does not actually prevent anyone from devoting his life to throwing the javelin or putting the shot further than anyone else in the world, but on the other hand does nothing actively to encourage him. Bravo India, with so large a proportion of the world’s population, and so small a proportion of the Olympic medals! It is the hope of the world.