If you were having any doubts at all as to whether the London 2012 Olympic Games would be a success, I think we can safely say they have been dispelled.
The only real question is when? Was it the first time you took the tube through a TFL Olympic ‘hot spot’ and realised that it was actually no worse than the Northern line at rush hour (well done TFL by the way)? It could well have been in the first few moments of Danny Boyle‘s epic opening ceremony, which is going to be an extraordinarily tough act to follow for Rio. Perhaps it was after Team GB had notched up 10 Olympic Golds, or 20, even. Was it a gradual culmination of positive spirit, the inspiring of a new generation, excitement and proud-to-be-Britishness emanating from the world around you? There are so many moments that have made this, for me, the greatest show on earth and last night, as I jumped around in the sand at Forman’s Riviera only 100m away from the Olympic stadium singing along raucously to ‘Wonderwall’, I was lost in the joy and pride of the London ‘Lympics.
What an extraordinary country this is, to be able to sandwich the world’s oldest sporting competition between two ‘Best of British’ events of such an exceptionally high calibre; one, an exclusive look at where our country has come from through the eyes of a globally renowned film Director, and two, a concert featuring some of the most popular musicians the world has ever seen. How many countries can do that? (Whether or not you like One Direction, the Spice Girls, or Take That, really is of no consequence.)
In the film Gladiator, the unhinged Emperor Commodus asks his sister what is greatness. Lucilla responds, “It’s an idea. Greatness…greatness is a vision.” Well, what an idea. What a vibrant, inspirational and unifying vision we have been treated to over the past 16 days. And if you think this hyperbolic blog post is no more than that, then you are missing the best part of the Olympics. It wasn’t Mo Farah crossing the finish line in the 5000m final, it wasn’t Super Saturday or Usain Bolt and his Jamaican team setting a new world record in the 4x100m relay. It’s this; the idea, the pride, the spectacle, the legacy. This feeling is London’s legacy. Long may it continue.