Well, the Olympics is over. London feels a bit…deflated. It feels like the first day back to work after the Christmas holidays. Such a huge build up, such a huge celebration and then this…a feeling of not quite knowing what to do with ourselves! I can’t remember what I used to watch on TV before the Olympics began.
I have never felt so lucky to live in London. For the last 2 weeks it has felt as though London has been the centre of the world. In this city that I now call home (sorry mum!), I feel a huge amount of love and pride. I can’t imagine ever wanting to live anywhere else. London…I love you!
The London 2012 Olympics has raised the mood of the nation. London has been buzzing with energy and excitement over the last couple of weeks and its been incredible. First, the Olympic torch relay which toured the length and breadth of the UK, from Land’s End to John O Groats, finally landed in London. I managed to see it as it passed by Buckingham Palace.
Then came the Opening Ceremony, directed by Danny Boyle, featuring James Bond and the Queen parachuting into the stadium from a helicopter (one of the best pieces of TV in living memory!), Mr Bean, Mary Poppins, Voldermort, David Beckham speeding down the Thames whilst smouldering down the camera and all to the backdrop of some of the best British music. And finally, the lighting of the Olympic flame cauldron, which featured 204 individual ‘petals’ symbolising each country participating in the Games. The ‘petals’ came together to create a unified flame symbolising hope and peace.
Yes, I’m sure a lot of references went over the heads of most of the rest of the world but to us, it was wonderful. It was funny, it was quirky, it was eccentric….it was 100% British.
London was awash with bunting in the run up to the Queen’s Jubilee earlier this year. Union Jacks adorned every street and alleyway…
And when the Olympics started, there were flags representing every nation in the world. Regent Street looked wonderful.
And then TeamGB started winning medals. Then more medals, then more! At one point they won they won three gold medals in athletics in 45 minutes! It was nicknamed Super Saturday. Then Andy Murray beat his nemesis, Roger Federer to win another gold medal for TeamGB. A wave of national pride was sweeping the nation. Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds were full of declarations of #ProudToBeBritish.
Instantly, athletes were being seen as inspirational and positive role models. All everyone was talking about was who’s won what, who’s been to what event, who saw that amazing dive/swim/run/sprint/gymnastic display…nobody could quite believe how amazing it all was! I was on the last train out of Waterloo one evening and it was full of passengers wrapped in Union Jacks and singing the National Anthem. People were sharing their videos and photos they had taken at the Olympic Stadium that night and everyone was in high spirits. If you’ve ever been on London transport, you will know that nobody ever talks to anyone.
I found myself getting increasingly emotional. When someone won a medal, I cried. When the National Anthem was being played, I cried. If someone didn’t get a medal, I cried! I was an emotional wreck!
Great Britain kept its third place in the Olympic medal table behind United States and China and finished with a total of 65 medals, including 29 gold. What a fantastic achievement for such a small (but great) country.
And so, last night, the London 2012 Olympics came to an end. The BBC excelled themselves with their montages, summing up the last two weeks. Yet again, I was crying watching it. So much has happened in the last two weeks…so many highlights.
The Closing Ceremony began, featuring performances from the Pet Shop Boys (fabulous), One Direction (odd choice), George Michael (who should have stopped after singing Freedom), Annie Lennox (always fantastic), Elbow (wonderful)…the list went on. Freddie Mercury managed to command the audience from a projector, and even John Lennon made an appearance. The Spice Girls performed for the very last time (thank God), Emile Sandé managed to perform three times…yes, three. Twitter was almost as entertaining as the ceremony itself, if not more so.
As Boris handed over the Olympic flag to the Mayor of Rio, you could almost feel the nation wanting to scream out, “Don’t give it to him Boris, its ours!”.
Finally the time came for the flame to be extinguished. I felt so sad. It was all over. But my God, I have never felt so proud to be British. London 2012 was hailed a massive success. From the venues to the crowds, the volunteers to the commentators and of course the athletes…it was absolutely wonderful.
As Lord Sebastian Coe so perfectly put it…
“When our time came, Britain, we did it right. Thank you.”
At least we have the Paralympics to look forward to now so all is not lost.