London raised its Olympic hat to the world, and found a new bounce beneath its feet.
The Games ignited the city with music, confidence, competition, and a collection of the most charismatic athletes the world could ever hope for. The fortnight exhausted us and then added new energy.
We wept and cheered and were amazed. We cried for athletes we did not know even existed, and were overwhelmed by the grace of the victorious. We wondered at the crowds and enthusiasm, stayed up late for Gabby Logan’s underdogs, and could not believe that London’s public transport system coped with all the crowds.
Ordinary brilliance was everywhere: free red ice lollies at Waterloo Station; convoys of purple buses; uniformed troops at ease; and the capital’s mayor cheerfully stranded on a zipwire in the Olympic Park.
Looking back it’s hard to spot how it ended up this way. It seems only yesterday that we grumbled with delicious pessimism. The weather was sky to sky rain, transport staff threatened strikes, G4S forgot to employ enough security staff, and US Republican Party presidential candidate Mitt Romney was about to visit.
Perhaps Mitt Romney was the change – that moment when he told us there were ‘disconcerting’ gaps in the country’s Olympic preparations. Perhaps it was then that the 2012 flame really lit up. We knew how to ‘mind the gap’. We’d show him.
In the end we travelled miles to be at the Olympics. If we couldn’t get to the venues we crowded around the big screens. We cheered and championed, and knew we had slotted into history as a key part of the 2012 Olympics.
It was grand! And we’re still in a quiver of Olympic success.
If you weren’t lucky enough to visit London for the Games, it’s not too late. The capital still beams and is well worth a visit.
Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2019