Thomson’s triumph sums up the spirit of Olympics

COMMENT: Bandstand event is a victim of its own success

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Record-breaking sailor Alex Thomson has a habit of doing things in style and his latest achievement is entirely in keeping with that ethos.

He hasn’t just beaten the world record for the fastest single-handed crossing of the Atlantic – he’s smashed it.

And the round-the-world yachtsman’s sense of timing really can’t be faulted, coinciding as it does with the start of the Olympic Games.

We’d be hard-pushed to think of a better way to kick-start such a prestigious tournament as this than with a sporting triumph that sums up the Olympic spirit.

While we should never forget that there’s a team of dedicated individuals working tirelessly behind the scenes on behalf of the Gosport-based sailor, this incredible feat of strength and skill is down to his own talent, courage and determination.

He’s pushed himself to the limits ever since he left New York on July 17, and last night he got to experience what success tastes like when he sailed triumphantly past Lizard Point, off Falmouth in Cornwall.

Now his thoughts will turn to the Vendee Globe and we wish him luck with that endeavour as we all settle down to watch more sportsmen and women compete at the very top of their game.

As the London 2012 Olympic Games finally get underway, it’s time for us to recognise the huge amounts of sacrifice and dedication that go into competitive sport.

The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, Fortius – faster, higher, stronger – and that’s exactly what these athletes will need to be.

We know there’s been some criticism of the Games, in particular the commercialisation that’s come with them. But we believe it’s time to take a pragmatic approach and acknowledge that funding had to come from somewhere. At least sponsorship deals have ensured that the public purse hasn’t shouldered the load on its own.

As the eyes of the world now turn on us, we can and should feel proud of what’s in store.

And we don’t think it goes against the spirit of the Olympics to wish Team GB the very best of luck for what’s about to unfold.