Great Britain's cyclists immortalised in Poet Laureate's Olympic tribute

Great Britain's cyclists immortalised in Poet Laureate's Olympic tribute


Above: Bradley Wiggins, Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy's 'sideburned Mod god.' (Image: PA)

The poem, entitled 'Translating the British, 2012', was commissioned exclusively for the Daily Mirror and features a host of Great Britain's cyclists, including 'sideburned Mod god' Bradley Wiggins and Sir Chris Hoy, the cyclists dominating the sweeping, anthemic verse in a similar way to how they have taken the lion's share of the Team GB medal haul during the Games themselves.

In her verse, Duffy demands more cycle lanes, new running tracks and the return of playing fields for sport. The poem pays tribute to the lavish, eccentric and brilliant Danny Boyle opening ceremony, the equally eccentric British weather and most of all the way that Team GB's athletes have stirred the collective British consciousness throughout the Games. What is most important for cycling however is that the names of our Great Britain cycling team have now transcended sport and been cemented into popular, and literary culture.

Translating the British, 2012

A summer of rain, then a gap in the clouds

and The Queen jumped from the sky

to the cheering crowds.

We speak Shakespeare here,

a hundred tongues, one-voiced; the moon bronze or silver,

sun gold, from Cardiff to Edinburgh

by way of London Town,

on the Giant's Causeway;

we say we want to be who we truly are,

now, we roar it. Welcome to us.

We've had our pockets picked,

the soft, white hands of bankers,

bold as brass, filching our gold, our silver;

we want it back.

We are Mo Farah lifting the 10,000 metres gold.

We want new running-tracks in his name.

For Jessica Ennis, the same; for the Brownlee brothers,

Rutherford, Ohuruogu, Whitlock, Tweddle,

for every medal earned,

we want school playing fields returned.

Enough of the soundbite abstract nouns,

austerity, policy, legacy, of tightening metaphorical belts;

we got on our real bikes,

for we are Bradley Wiggins,

side-burned, Mod, god;

we are Sir Chris Hoy,

Laura Trott, Victoria Pendleton, Kenny, Hindes,

Clancy, Burke, Kennaugh and Geraint Thomas,

Olympian names.

We want more cycle lanes.

Or we saddled our steed,

or we paddled our own canoe,

or we rowed in an eight or a four or a two;

our names, Glover and Stanning; Baillie and Stott;

Adlington, Ainslie, Wilson, Murray,

Valegro (Dujardin's horse).

We saw what we did. We are Nicola Adams and Jade Jones,

bring on the fighting kids.

We sense new weather.