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Postcard from London: A cast of many
WANDERING around London, one of the most colourful aspects of the Olympics is provided by the pockets of overseas fans supporting their nation's competitors.
It's not quite like a football World Cup, where entire cities are overrun by thousands of supporters all from the same country all at the same time, but it still leads to a lively multinational mix.
It's hard to know how many are tourists who have visited Britain specifically for the Games, and how many are immigrants or students who now call London their home, but nations from the length and breadth of the world are represented.
If you've spent any time in the capital, you'll not be surprised to learn that the biggest groups hail from Australia and New Zealand. Goodness knows who's manning the bars in Earl's Court in their absence.
The Aussies have been quieter than usual, surely a reflection of the medal table that sees them currently sitting in 19th position below the likes of Ukraine, Belarus and North Korea. With the Ashes also out of their hands, this is not a good time to be an Australian sport fan.
It's not a bad time to be a New Zealander, and the silver fern was flying proudest at the rowing lake, where national hero Mahe Drysdale finally claimed an Olympic gold medal to go with his five world titles in the single scull.
It's interesting to note which sports appear to be biggest in which countries. As well as rowing, the New Zealanders like their hockey, while there are huge groups of Australians wearing T-shirts proclaiming their support for the 'Stingers', the country's women's water polo team. Clearly, the sport is much more popular over there than it is over here.
The Americans are present here, there and everywhere, underlining the nation's strength in pretty much every sport on the Olympic programme.
The US support at the swimming was impressive, but the prize ticket from a US perspective is undoubtedly for the 'Dream Team' at the men's basketball. It's not just the supporters either. Olympic organisers are having to ration press passes for the US basketball games, such is the demand from Stateside journalists to cover them.
The Irish are massing at the boxing, desperately hoping to see Katie Taylor claim their country's first gold, while the South Korea supporters appear to have dissipated after annexing a block of the archery seating in the first week of the Olympics.
It's the slightly more obscure flags that tend to catch the eye though. At the boxing on Monday, there was a group of around 30 Tajiks going absolutely bananas as one of their women fighters secured Tajikistan's first medal of the Games.
Yesterday, in the morning session of the athletics, it was possible to pick out pockets of supporters from Sudan, Mongolia, Bhutan and Malaysia. Now that's quite a mix.
When it comes to non-British support at the athletics though, nothing will compare to Sunday night. It seemed like half of Jamaica must have turned out to support Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, and most stayed long into the night to catch a glimpse of their nation's most celebrated sportsmen.
I'm told that areas of south London became huge all-night party zones on Sunday night and Monday morning as the Jamaican community took to the streets to celebrate Bolt's gold medal. Forget Kingston-upon-Thames, it was the noise of Kingston, Jamaica that London was echoing to at the weekend.
THOUSANDS lined the Embankment yesterday to cheer on Alistair and Jonny Brownlee as they claimed gold and bronze for Britain in the triathlon.
There were plenty of fluttering Union Jacks, but there were also a number of white roses flying in celebration of the Horsforth-based brothers' Yorkshire roots.
This has been a remarkable Olympics for Yorkshire, which is punching well above its weight in terms of its contribution to Team GB's medal tally.
If North-Easterner Kat Copeland is included in the list - and as her parents now live in Stokesley , I suppose technically she could be – Yorkshire's medal tally now stands at five golds, two silvers and three bronzes.
That would put the county tenth on the overall list, narrowly behind Germany, but ahead of the likes of Holland, South Africa, Australia and Brazil. And to think I used to assume 'Yorkshire Gold' was just the name for a type of tea.