As the Olympic juggernaut rolls on to Rio, the rhythm of British national life takes on a more predictable cadence.
Round-the-clock TV sports action will soon revert to the usual hotch-potch of repeats and soaps. Bedtime viewing will no longer be Gaby Logan gleefully presenting a moving montage of human achievement mixed with moments of heart-breaking grace in defeat.
As someone who is not an avid sports fan, it took me a while to understand why I found it all so enthralling. Taekwondo, a sport I previously struggled to spell, had me hooked. Even women's boxing, which I had predicted watching through my hands, was captivating. And as for the athletics ... woah. Then it struck me: turning on the TV and being able to watch talented people in action is a rarity. Reality TV, and its cast of whining nobodies obsessing about the minutiae of their vacuous existence, eats up an increasing slice of televisions schedules. Ill-formed opinion and attention-seeking antics abound but true talent is rarely in evidence.
For 17 days the Olympics gave us a non-stop feed of outstanding stars with skill and mental strength in equal measure and what a treat it was to watch. Every winning athlete spoke of achieving a dream. It reminded me of the tuneless wonders who currently populate the auditions of TV talent shows brandishing their "dreams" at the judges as if they are entitled to have them realised; without talent, without the graft, without the steely discipline and personal sacrifices of these athletes, but because they chase the dubious charms of fame.
Compare Mo Farah's display of strength in the final strides of the 5000m men's final with a typical TOWIE exchange about who fancies who. No Contest. TV schedulers take note.
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