Mo Farah and Linford Christie share a selfie at London Stadium
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Linford Christie, 61, has reflected on when he was reprimanded over draping himself in the Union flag after he won gold at the European Championships in 1986. The Olympic champion sprinter celebrated with the Union Jack after a member of the crowd handed him the flag following his triumph in the 100 metres at the time.
However, his patriotic move went on to spark a complaint from one of his own team officials.
When quizzed on whether he was surprised about the controversy he faced for displaying the flag, Linford admitted in an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk: “It only surprised me because it was a member of our team, on the management side, that complained about it.
“But it’s life, and I’m a proud Brit, and I loved that I had the opportunity to go out there and represent my country.
“And I love the Queen, and I think people need to get behind that.”
Addressing the complaint he received, Linford added: “There’s always going to be somebody who is what we call a party pooper, but the good things outweigh the bad things.
“So I’ve just got to move on now, and I think the fact that people now are more aware of what’s going on, and what’s gone on, they’re doing a lot more to change things, which I think is a good thing.”
Linford added of patriotism in the UK: “Maybe we come across as not being as patriotic as America, but again, at the same time, we’re not as bad as them in other ways.”
He went on to urge sports fans to understand the significance of people of colour “putting the Great in Britain”.
Linford continued: “I think the same way we can support people when it comes to sporting events, that maybe we can support them in every walk of life and I think that’s something that we need to get behind.
“I think people need to know and understand the importance that people of colour putting the Great in Britain, and I think because a lot of people are not aware, they don’t know.
“It should be in the school curriculum a lot more what role black and ethnic people played in making Britain great again and I think once people understand that, they will appreciate it and things will run a lot smoother.
“There’s always that narrative that we haven’t done anything, and we need to educate the people a bit more.”
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Linford went on to criticise the Home Office and Home Secretary Priti Patel over how Windrush victims have been treated.
The retired athlete pointed out: “I think the way the Home Office and Priti Patel is behaving with the Windrush people doesn’t help.”
Linford added: “And I think that we need to, right from the very top, everyone should play their part to make people more aware.
“And it’s got to be in education.”
It comes after activists spoke to journalists outside the Home Office last month in a bid to fight for those whose lives were torn apart when the government improperly questioned their right to live in the UK.
Many legal residents who came to Britain from the Caribbean lost their homes, jobs and right to medical care when they were targeted by the Home Office’s fight against illegal immigration.
The activists argued the British government should create a new independent body to administer the program designed to compensate the victims.
The program has been widely criticised for not moving quickly enough to process claims from the mostly black victims of the Windrush scandal.
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