This essay is from my friend David Tobia, an undergraduate at USC taking Sports Diplomacy. More from this great class to come!
It’s 11:58 local time in London when the host nation finally enters Olympic Stadium. David Bowie’s Heroes blasts through speakers as the crowd sings “I – I will be King. And you – you will be queen.” Scottish Cyclist Sir Chris Hoy carries the British flag to honor his Olympic teammates as well as all the citizens of Hoy’s imagined community: Great Britain.
“Though nothing will drive them away. We can beat them just for one day – we can be heroes” the crowd continues, emphasizing the refrain: “We can be heroes!”
For the 2012 London Olympic Games, “we” includes 541 athletes – more than any other nation. And “we” does not just include English athletes, but also Imogen Bankier, a badminton player from Glasgow, Scotland and Ryan Giggs, a 38-year old Welsh footballer revered for his illustrious career with Manchester United, who has never appeared in any major international tournament.