Rule Britannia? Try cruel Britannia.
An unrepentant ex-doper from Kazakhstan kissing his gold medal on the queen's front drive was hardly how Brits had imagined Day 1 of their Olympics. Instead of a British champion in cyclist Mark Cavendish, they got Borat without the fun and a lesson in how to lose.
As if they needed one.
The omens for Britain had been so good. Everyone figured Cavendish - a.k.a ''the Manx Missile,'' on account of his ungodly speed in the finishing straight - as a sure thing. Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, came to give Cavendish a royal send-off. The world champion also had Bradley Wiggins in his corner, ready to repay one good turn with another after Cavendish helped the rider now universally known across these isles as ''Wiggo'' (soon to be Sir Wiggo?) become the first Briton to win the Tour de France.
''Cav,'' the thinking went, would get Britain's first gold of 2012 - hopefully, the first of many.
Only hours earlier, director Danny Boyle had made m...