Singing the national anthem 唱国歌

Vocabulary: National pride 與民族自豪感有關的詞語

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Can team GB cyclists sing the national anthem during the medal ceremony?

Every athlete dreams of that moment: standing on the highest podium, having a gold medal hung around their neck and watching with pride, as their country's flag is raised and the national anthem is played.

International sports stars are used to being under the spotlight, but nowadays their vocal performance can be subject to as much scrutiny as their athletic ability.

For many people, the national anthem is an important tradition, symbolizing a country's history and uniting a nation in glory. Singing the anthem is often considered an essential part of sporting etiquette and respect. Failing to sing along can lead to questions in the media: is an athlete making a political statement, or are they simply embarrassed by singing in public?

UK Athletics head coach Charles van Commenee insisted that athletes would learn the words to the national anthem before the London 2012 games in order to head off any potential criticism of "plastic Brits" - athletes with dual nationality who switched allegiance to represent Team GB at the Olympics.

However, not all competitors feel quite so patriotic. The Team GB football squad came under fire when Welsh footballers Ryan Giggs and Craig Bellamy stood in silence as their team mates sang "God Save the Queen".

Although it is not clear whether the players were actively boycotting the anthem or simply felt awkward singing in front of the cameras, they were criticised by many in the media for not showing respect for their nation. Those with republican views argue that they can still represent their country without having to sing the pro-monarchy song.

But any British gold-medal athletes who sit on the fence over the issue now have an added incentive to project their voices loudly: British newspaper columnist Piers Morgan feels so passionate about the UK anthem that he has pledged to donate £1000 to a children」s hospital for every British athlete who sings during their gold medal ceremony.

Winning a gold medal can transform an athlete from a relative unknown to national hero, but it seems that failing to sing the national anthem - however bad their singing ability - could cause more embarrassment than staying silent.