JUST when the Olympics seemed to have turned into a multi million pound showbiz extravaganza, with sport just as the sideline, along comes Jason Queally. Jason, you may remember, won a gold medal on the first day, taking everyone by surprise, not least himself. Then, just to prove it wasn't a fluke, he won a silver the day after.

And that is reason enough to celebrate. But there are lots of other reasons why Jason's success should cheer us up.

l His £10,000 bike, supplied by the British Cycling Federation, was built in a garage. OK, it wasn't actually a little man in greasy overalls and a bog standard tool box. Designer Chris Fields is a freelance consultant who set up the firm that built Chris Boardman's winning bikes. But still, this was a one man band, not a multi-million pound, mass production operation.

l When he gave up his job as a research technician, Jason was helped by a £10,000 a year grant from the Lottery. Isn't it wonderful to know that there was some dosh left over from the Dome and it actually went to something we can be proud of?

l He's had three bad accidents, including one which nearly killed him. As far as I know, he's not suing anyone for millions, has not turned himself into a helpless, hapless victim, and is just even more determined to win.

l Think the family is on the way out? Jason was supported in Australia by his girlfriend, his mum and dad, his sister and a dozen other aunts, uncles and cousins. His granny stayed at home and cried all through the medal ceremony. That's what I call family.

l Jason seems genuinely surprised and genuinely modest and hasn't even thought about what he can get out of it all. "Perhaps I will have to get an agent," he says. "I don't understand about all that stuff myself."

Isn't he wonderful?

The Olympics have largely become an opportunity for nations to show off to the world. Big business sponsorship rules. You can't take any cola other than Coke into the Olympic stadium, because of Coca-Cola's sponsorship. You can only use a certain credit card to pay for things at Olympic shops. Everything has a price that has to be paid. And that's before we start wondering and worrying about what drugs the athletes are taking.

It's easy to get cynical about the Olympics, to think that sportsmanship is dead and that everyone is in it for the money and nothing else.

Then you see Jason Queally, pop-eyed and speechless with his two medals, while his granny in Lancashire cries with pride.

And it's good to be reminded of what the Olympics are still about.

MR and Mrs Gordon Brown gave a belated wedding party this week, at which all the great and good and Socialist glitterati were present.

But, unlike every other party in Britain recently, I bet no one there dared talk about how they managed for petrol.

NODDY'S back. Well sort of. A Canadian company is making a new Noddy series using hi-tech computer graphics and featuring a multi-ethnic cast, and making him "relevant" for the 21st Century. A spokesman for the company said "We want to bring him to life like never before."

Watch out, Toytown - it could be Noddy the Terminator.