Gloating British celebrate rare success
After 20 years of Olympic humiliation, the British have celebrated beating Australia's gold medal tally with all the restraint and good taste that you'd expect.
Tabloid UK newspaper The Sun hired tray-top trucks in both Sydney and London that were mounted with giant signs comparing Britain's (19) and Australia's (14) gold medal counts and driven around the respective cities.
Emblazoned across a Union Jack background was the question "Where the bloody hell were you?", referencing the Lara Bingle-led tourism ad campaign.
The signs also hint at Australia's relative "failure" in cycling, rowing and other sports in which the contestants sit down — events with obvious appeal to the British and where they accumulated the bulk of their gold.
The Sun even scoured London for an Australian called Bruce, finally cornering 48-year-old Bruce Howes in what they termed a "posh Kensington High Street" and confronting him with the rare defeat.
"We'll get you next time," he warned.
British expat Suzie O'Carroll, who forwarded a mobile phone photo of the truck driving along George St this morning to ninemsn, said she thought the Sun had been "pretty darn quick" in setting up the prank.
"I've heard that the bookies are offering odds of 4/7 on Britain getting more medals next time and the same odds of us beating Australia," she said.
"I'm sure the Aussies will pour everything into avoid that, but I think the GB will still come out on top."
Asked if she might rub in another victory for the motherland amongst Antipodean colleagues, Ms O'Carroll said: "Well, maybe just a little bit."
British excitement is understandable: it is the first time since the 1988 Seoul Olympics that the country has topped Australia's medal count.
The fervour has been further increased by the prospect of federal sports minister Kate Ellis wearing red, white and blue clothing to a sporting event involving the two countries as a result of a bet with her British equivalent Gerry Sutcliffe.
A spokesman for Ms Ellis said she had not yet decided when she would meet the obligation but "would be looking at the calendar in the coming months to see in which events the two nations clash".