More reasons to raise a cheer for London’s golden Games

5 London 2012 is not just a breakthrough for women but for the older generation. Japan has entered a 71-year-old competitor for the dressage. He first competed for the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, the year I was born. Banzai!

6 The Olympic Stadium is looking utterly superb, and is packed with athletics fans from the beginning of the day – very unusual in modern Olympics. If you watched the climax of the events on sensational Saturday, you will have become aware of a wall of noise from the supporters – a vast pro-British sonic boom that seemed almost physically to propel the Team GB athletes. When Greg Rutherford jumped, or when Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah made their amazing sprints for the finish, you could tell they were almost literally lifted by the crowd. It must be obvious that it would be insane to knock this venue down. With or without football, that stadium has a great future.

7 Sir Paul McCartney singing Hey Jude at the velodrome.

8 The weather – perfect English weather for a garden fête.

9 The BBC has more than made up for any deficiencies in its coverage of the Jubilee, with an endless stream of dazzling pictures and apposite commentary. My favourite is the late-night summary with Gabby Logan.

10 And the Beeb has not only given up the “empty seats” story. It has also chucked the stuff about “ghost town” London. There were about 100,000 people at the Hyde Park Live Site on Saturday night, and big crowds of shoppers both in Oxford Street and Covent Garden, to say nothing of the stupendous multitudes at Westfield in Stratford. Across the world people are seeing images of a country that seems to be (a) happy, (b) relaxed, (c) welcoming, (d) full of beautiful places and interesting things to do, and (e) pretty efficient at laying on the greatest sporting event on earth. That is worth a great deal to London and to the UK economy.

11 Many people seem to have enjoyed me looking like a complete prat on a zip wire. I want you to know that I had no intention of getting stuck. The only upside is that we saw a big increase in footfall in our excellent Live Site in Victoria Park, and long queues to use the zip wire of doom.

12 The ArcelorMittal Orbit may be bizarre, but it has been packed out.

13 The Tube is carrying more passengers than ever before – record numbers on most days of last week. Indeed, the transport network is (on the whole) running so reliably that quite a few officials and members of the Olympic “family” have apparently abandoned their BMWs in favour of public transport. Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, was conveyed on the Docklands Light Railway, and pronounced it comfortable in every respect.

14 Robbery in London has fallen while the Games have been on – making a safe city even safer.

15 The Games have been the most dramatic possible lesson in the virtues of ambition, hard work and competition. They are the opposite of the something-for-nothing culture. They could not come at a better time for a nation making a difficult psychological adjustment, after long years of easy credit and ballooning debt.

16 They seem to have exposed unexpected reserves of positive energy – pride – that is passionate without being remotely intimidating or chauvinistic. John Major once said he wanted “a nation at ease with itself”. Here it is.

17 The co-stars of the show have been the volunteers – whether they are with Locog, or Team London Ambassadors, or the Tfl volunteers. Most Olympic cities say that their volunteers start to drift away, with attrition rates of more than 10 per cent. Here in London we have a 98 per cent retention rate.

18 We have not only revived the ancient cult of near-nudity in the beach volleyball. The park also boasts a bronze plaque with an ode to the Games in Pindaric Greek.

19 There will now be overwhelming political pressure to encourage more competitive sport in all schools.

20 Stop press. Andy Murray has just won GGGGOLD! He has defeated Roger Federer and avenged Wimbledon. Excuse me but… honk… proot… sob… I don’t think I can write any more…

2 thoughts on “More reasons to raise a cheer for London’s golden Games”

  1. It feels like there’s a seismic change happening in Britain and I hope the enthusiasm and positivity of the Games continues. I feel extremely proud of everyone involved. Thanks Boris

  2. Currently the running track and fixed athletic equipment in Victoria Park is being used as a carpark for the BT event screening the Olympics… Last year it was a VIP area at the summer festivals. Once it was even used as extra toilet space. Can’t wait to go do some chin ups… oh – the chin up bar has been driven over by a truck.

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