Waves of optimism conquers Britain amid Olympic glory

Waves of optimism conquers Britain amid Olympic glory

By Ian Dunt

The nation was basking in an uncommon wave of optimism today following the most successful evening in its Olympic history.

Tributes to Britain's athletes flooded in from across the political spectrum, as the nation watched Team GB claim six golds in cycling, rowing, the heptathlon, the long jump and the 10,000 metres.

The haul puts the country third on the medal table, behind the US and China.

Heptathlon winner Jessice Ennis, runner Mo Farah and long jumper Greg Rutherford praised the crowds in the Olympic Stadium for pushing them ahead to victory last night.

Ennis, who has turned in to the face of the Games, said she now planned to "eat lots of rubbish food, have a few glasses of wine and enjoy this moment for as long as possible".

Farrah won plaudits online after he responded to a question about preferring to win for Somalia with the words: "Not at all, mate! This is my country."

The euphoria has not diminished political moves behind the scenes however.

The chairman of the British Olympic Association is expected to use the hype around the British performance to convince the government to maintain or even boost funding for UK sports.

Women's rights activists were turning to Ennis as a role model for younger women, rather than the supermodels and celebrities.

And in Westminster, much of the conversation still focused on Boris Johnson, who is seen as the political winner of the Games.

Downing Street will have been incensed at a tweet from backbench Tory MP Nadine Dorries, who claimed the London mayor was ready to fight for the leadership of the Tory party.

“In 2005, a senior member of the Cabinet told me to vote for David ¬Cameron for leader, as Boris wasn’t ready yet. He is now!” she wrote.

Labour leader Ed Miliband mischievously poured fuel on the fire by posting a photo of him with the London mayor and silver medal winning cyclist Lizzie Armitstead.