Go Workforce Tom! Is there a solitary Thomas, Tommy or Tom who didn’t feel a frisson of peaceful pleasure above the truth that for most of this 7 days, an outstanding 1-3rd of Britain’s haul of Olympic gold medals had been gained by people who share our superb forename? I undoubtedly felt it.

In fact, there was 1 superb working day at the beginning of the week when if British athletes named Tom had fashioned a individual group of their have in Tokyo, they would have held 11th area in the medals desk, amongst all 205 groups getting element.

With some justice, they may say that as a chain-using tobacco, major-ingesting couch potato, I have not the slightest legit assert to share in the Olympic glory of Tom Pidcock (pictured)

Real, some will argue it is preposterous for the likes of me to choose pleasure in the coincidence that so a lot of of our golds — no less than five of our 15 until yesterday early morning, when the bicycle owner Matt Walls won Workforce GB’s 16th — occurred to have been gained by athletes called Tom.

With some justice, they may possibly say that as a chain-using tobacco, hefty-drinking sofa potato, I haven’t the slightest legit declare to share in the Olympic glory of Tom Pidcock (mountain bike race), Tom Daley (synchronised diving), Tom McEwen (equestrian eventing) and Tom Dean (two golds in the swimming pool).


To be genuine, I’m not even that interested in activity. As for in fact collaborating in organised video games, I put in most of my schooldays hoping to devise strategies of preventing them — specially if they involved challenging exertion, these kinds of as cross-country running, or violent physical speak to, these as boxing or rugby.

To this working day, in reality, the only sporting prowess I can justly declare is my skill to toss scrunched-up pieces of paper into the wastepaper basket at the other stop of the office, with pretty much unfailing accuracy.

(Alas, this has not nonetheless been accepted as an Olympic celebration — although considering the fact that seashore volleyball, sport climbing and skateboarding have produced the grade, it can only be a matter of time).

All I can testify is that I did certainly really feel as pleased as Punch when my colleague Ephraim Hardcastle to start with pointed out, soon to be followed by other papers, that British athletes called Tom were being executing exceptionally properly in the Video games.

Some will argue it’s ridiculous for the likes of me to take pleasure in the coincidence that so many of our golds — no fewer than five of our 15 until yesterday morning, when the cyclist Matt Walls won Team GB’s 16th — happened to have been won by athletes called Tom. Tom Daley is pictured above

Some will argue it’s ridiculous for the likes of me to consider satisfaction in the coincidence that so quite a few of our golds — no less than 5 of our 15 right up until yesterday early morning, when the cyclist Matt Partitions won Crew GB’s 16th — occurred to have been received by athletes termed Tom. Tom Daley is pictured higher than

Contact me irrational, if you will. But then for the good bulk of us, what ever our forenames could be, isn’t there a thing similarly irrational about using delight and pleasure in the successes of British athletes, as opposed to people from other nations?

Following all, we do not set in all these punishing hours of schooling. As opposed to many of the athletes’ mothers and fathers, we have not coached and encouraged them from infancy. The most credit we can quite declare is that, in some situations, we could each have contributed a little quantity as a result of our taxes or lottery ticket purchases to funding the facilities British athletes use.

In a correctly rational world, in reality, it would not make a jot of distinction to us no matter if the winner of the gold in, say, dressage, happened to come from Great Britain or Mongolia. Still for most of us, it matters quite a whole lot. If you’re just about anything like me, you are thrilled when our fellow Brits do effectively, and you’re unhappy when they’re crushed.

But then let us experience it, the fact is that the Homo sapiens is not an totally rational animal. For it is in our nature to knowledge extra fellow-feeling for some folks than for others.

As a species, we are likely to set our people very first, then our friends, local communities and fellow countrymen. Only then do we find area in our hearts to care about the rest of humanity.

If you question me, just check with your self this: who would you rescue to start with from a fire, if you experienced the choice — your very own kid, or a person you’d never satisfied?

My point is that if you assert the ideal to get satisfaction in Group GB’s successes, as most of us do, then you need to grant those of us who share my forename the correct to sense particularly proud of the medals won by athletes called Tom.


As it takes place, I have a specific rationale for emotion strongly hooked up to my title, for the reason that I am the seventh-generation Thomas in my family members, in rigorous line of succession. My eldest son, Thomas George, is the eighth (though we have generally identified as him George to stay away from the confusion of two Toms in one property), whilst my grandson Rafael Thomas is the ninth.

Without a doubt, one particular of my sisters, who has built a hobby of tracing the Utley ancestry, tells me that since 1697, only a person generation of our branch of the spouse and children has not incorporated a Tom.

Of system, some could say it’s not stunning that so a lot of Toms have turned up in the medals desk this 12 months, because Thomas, in its many sorts, was seemingly the next most popular title given to newborn boys in the Uk in the 50 several years up to 2019.

Thoughts you, it hasn’t always been so modern. Indeed, if I don’t forget rightly, I was the only Tom amid 100 boys at my prep college throughout the five years I was there, from 1962 to 1967.

But by the time my 4 sons came along, in the 1980s and 1990s, each and every next boy or girl appeared to bear the title. If you shouted for Tom in their faculty playground, a dozen small boys would imagine you were addressing them.

But definitely probability idea alone cannot describe the vastly disproportionate amount of Toms in the medals tables — not only amongst the golds, but the silvers and bronzes, far too. Essentially, I’ve been pondering all week if, in some mysterious way, our presented names could engage in a element in shaping our character and aptitudes.

I don’t know about you, but Tom has often struck me as a strong, no-nonsense, dependable type of a name, suggestive of the kind of bloke who’s unafraid to adhere at a work until finally it’s finished. Alright, I may possibly not fit that description myself, but this could be simply because for the 1st 12 yrs of my life everyone called me Tommy, which has fairly various connotations. A handful of letters can make all the difference.


Acquire the title Tim, for example — only just one letter distinct from Tom, still to my brain it conjures up an completely distinct photo.

I feel of the lyricist Tim Rice, the late comic Tim Brooke-Taylor or Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the chap who gave us the Throughout the world Net for absolutely free.

All totally nice, benevolent fellows, no question, but I cannot assist questioning if they may well have been a little a lot less weedy if their mother and father had identified as them Tom as a substitute of Tim.

Of system, we do not all conform to the stereotypes recommended by our names. I believe of my pal Tristan, who performed in his posh school’s rugby scrum together with teammates known as (if my memory serves me) Peregrine, Sebastian, Tarquin and Rupert. How the opposing groups from rougher educational institutions jeered when they read those names.

I have Tristan’s word for it, however, that they hardly ever jeered at the conclude of the activity, when they’d been comprehensively thrashed by the workforce they’d dismissed as chinless miracles. 

Potentially the posh boys had been given those people names to toughen them up — on the same principle as A Boy Named Sue, in Johnny Cash’s popular music.

But I ought to cease now, in advance of I insult just about every male reader of this column who has the misfortune to be referred to as a thing other than Tom. 

All I can do is earnestly hope that future generations of my spouse and children will proceed to ignore the vagaries of manner — and carry on calling their sons by that time-honoured title of pure Olympic gold.

As for these Timothys, Ruperts and Sebastians to whom I may have offered offence, I can only apologise and sign myself yours, proudly but sincerely, Tom.

Source connection