Aussie view: Silver is the new gold in London

PETER FITZSIMONS
Last updated 12:40 06/08/2012
Australian silver medalists Kim Crow and Brooke Pratley with their medals after the women's double sculls rowing event at the 2012 London Olympics.
Reuters
SILVER ACCESSORY: Australian silver medalists Kim Crow and Brooke Pratley with their medals after the women's double sculls rowing event at the 2012 London Olympics.

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OPINION: Silver is the new gold.

Oh yes, I grant you, there are still countries - and here's a special cheerio to you Kiwis, sniff - who only want to talk about the number of flashy, trashy, gold medals they've won. But here at the London Olympics, in the very heart of "Cool Britannia", it is wonderful to see the fashionable breakthrough made by the Australian team, when it comes to proudly displaying the kind of medal that everyone now wants.

I am serious. Lots of the 26 American and 25 Chinese gold medallists have been sadly ubiquitous for swanning around London with their gaudy gold medallions glinting from beneath their matted chest hairs - and many of their male athletes are just as bad - but this European summer Australian athletes are not doing that. They are eschewing the outdated Versace look and instead popularising among classy people the softer lustre of the Collette Dinnigan hallmark, the enduring stylish chic that goes with rounding off your sterling sports career by displaying the medal so redolent of the old-money family's treasured cutlery set - silver, my friends, yes silver.

And we're not doing it by halves, either, not by a long shot. Australia has won 12 silver medals so far, just one behind America's 13 silvers, and four behind China's 16 silvers, marking us out as being one of the three Silver Superpowers of these Games!

Contemplate that, you Kiwis, with your three gold medals and your miserable lack of a single silver medal to bless yourselves with, and eat your hearts out!

As to you Brits, we said we'd beat you in the medal count and we are - who would have thought the host nation could only come up with seven silvers at this stage, just over half the amount that WE have? Yes, yes, yes, you've also got fourteen gold, but they simply don't count like they used to, don't you get it?

For gold is so grasping, so "look-at-me-look-at-me!", so … I don't know … cheap … that it really only fits in when worn late at night in a cocktail lounge where the bar-tender's name is Fabio. But wearing a silver medal makes an entirely different statement to the world, and can be worn any time, any place, anywhere, and get RESPECT.

Wearing silver marks you out as a solid, not flashy, sportsperson; a person who could have won gold if they'd been as egocentric, self-obsessed and - let's face it - prone to CHEATING, as the gold medallist, but upon mature consideration has decided against it.

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For the silver medallist would rather have a life, too, to be a beacon for economically sustainable sport; to mentor the bronze medallists of this world and encourage them that one day, they, too, could reach that perfect bridge between the gaudy gold medallist and the sadly tarnished bauble of the third place-getter, and stay there happily ever after.

Yes, my friends, the silver medallist shows the way. There is no need to be loud and over-proud like the gold medallists who we all know will flame out in just a few years anyway, being on their third marriages as they struggle to make their payments on the Maserati - as so much money is already being eaten up in custody battles for little Moonbeam and Olympia.

Why do that, when it is so much more classy as a silver medallist to modestly display the softer lustre of your still huge achievement and get on with your fabulous life, always downplaying the truth of the matter - that you could have won gold, but you just weren't cheap enough.

And so, people, my people, on your behalf, I offer a sincere and hearty bravo to the newly embraced motto of the Australian Olympic team and its supporters - everybody on my count - "Faster, higher, SILVER … !"

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