Amazing show of support can teach us all a thing or two

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It’s been wonderful to see so many of Team GB’s Olympic athletes standing on the top step of the podium, proudly clutching their hard-fought-for gold medals.

But it’s also worth remembering that those who take their place just a few steps lower to receive a silver or a bronze have also achieved something quite remarkable.

It’s hard to imagine exactly how Emsworth sailor Iain Percy must have felt after narrowly missing out on a gold in Sunday’s Star race. He’d been working towards this event for so long and only lost it in a nail-biting finish that could have gone either way.

And yet it’s important to reiterate that he and teammate Andrew Simpson have absolutely nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about.

A silver medal is an incredible accolade – so we’re delighted to see how the people of Emsworth have got behind Iain to give him the recognition he so richly deserves. Turning the town’s main post box silver is a simple but symbolic way to acknowledge what Iain and Andrew have achieved.

We’ve been delighted to hear how people have got behind the idea, even scribbling their own heartfelt messages and attaching them to the post box.

Here’s a community that really knows how to rally round its own. People often say that the all-important community spirit has diminished somewhat over the years, but this illustrates more than anything that it’s alive and well in Emsworth.

We’re sure Iain must feel touched to know there are people around him who care enough to show their support in this way.

While he may never quite get over the pain of losing out on that gold, he can feel comforted by the thought that so many well-wishers were willing him on to succeed in the first place.

The Olympic Games is all about the agony and ecstasy of competing against the world’s best on a stage quite unlike any other. But when all’s said and done, it’s the support we are able to give each other during the tough times that speaks volumes.