Yes, it’s an obvious choice.
And yes, there’s nothing worse than stoking American patriotism.
But the clips of Ryan Held crying as the Star-Spangled Banner plays after he’s just won gold in the 4 x 100m freestyle are too good. If anything shows the positive power that anthems can have, it’s the photo above.
“I didn’t think I was going to cry,” he told reporters afterwards. “I was too tired. I didn’t think I could.
“I’ve heard the national anthem hundreds of times, but as soon as that played it was just something different.”
If you want to know the story of that anthem – the bizarre, 100-plus year journey it took to becoming America’s anthem – read my book. There’s a whole chapter on it.
I am, genuinely, expecting a Black Lives Matter protest to occur during one of the US medal ceremonies this Games. Not for someone to start singing the “black national anthem” – Lift Every Voice and Sing – over the top of it, but maybe for someone to hold up a placard. If that occurs, the Star-Spangled Banner will appear here again. Apologies in advance.