So yesterday we bid farewell to the Summer of sporting greatness that was London 2012.
With a fly-past over Buckingham Palace, and around 800 athletes waving to a crowd of hundreds of thousands of well-wishers, it was a fitting end to what has been a spectacular month.
Having made around 200 attempts to purchase tickets for the Olympic Park during the Olympics, I finally managed to bag 4 tickets for the Stadium during the Paralympics.
At the time of buying them I felt like I was accepting 2nd best, but on the night I was proved completely and utterly wrong.
The talent on show at the Olympic Stadium last night was incredible, and the competitors showed just as much desire to win as any olympian I watched on TV.
My wife, who has no interest at all in sport was utterly hooked. Within a few days she’d learnt all of the competitors names, what event they were in, and whether they were possible medal winners. I was amazed.
Even the worst Summer of rain ever known didn’t dampen the spirts of the crowds who turned up to every event.
I must admit, 7 years ago I was one of these doubters when it came to London hosting the Olympic Games. I thought the roads would come to a standstill, the trains would all fail to deliver people on time, the terrorists would have a field day and the whole thing would personally cost me my life savings in taxes.
In the end, London produced something that we should all be very proud of. Everything worked, and to cap it off Team GB bagged a host of medals, leaving us third placed in both the Olympics and Paralympics.
The legacy of the games is something everyone talks about, and I’m sure there are thousands of young people who now want to be an Olympian, in the same way that little boys all over the country want to be a Premier League footballer, except the athletes genuinely appear to be people to look up to, unlike most footballers.
It’s also amazing to see that people have got excited about an MP for once. Boris Johnson seems to of come out of this Summer with a halo.
For me, the biggest wow factor of the whole event was the volunteers. These individuals in their smart Adidas uniforms greeting guests to the Olympic parks like they were long-lost friends coming to the world’s biggest party. They created the atmosphere from the moment you stepped off the trains, and that fun and enthusiastic atmosphere spilled into the venues.
For these people to give up their own time to contribute to the success of the London 2012 Olympics was remarkable, and they should all receive our thanks.
So, the Summer of 2011 will be remembered for riots, and terror on the streets of London. The Summer of 2012 will be remembered for the patriotic scenes and the pride that we as a nation are capable of organising brilliant events that genuinely will inspire a generation. So glad we won the bid all those years ago, the games gave us all a lift from this doom and gloom, except of course for the stupid ticket sales website.