I don’t want to get into name-calling and carping of Olympic Games past, because each one had the indelible imprint of its host country’s culture.
And so it was with London 2012.
Whether it bettered the tightly-disciplined Beijing event or was as ‘fun-tastic’ as Sydney is for others to decide. All I can say of Britain’s endeavors – in terms of handsome stadia, organisation (despite the security recruitment fiasco of G4S) and competitors who delivered so much glory – is ‘We did it our way’, to paraphrase Frank Sinatra’s evergreen hit.
And, as a Brit, it made me immensely proud.Probably the best summary I’ve read so far comes from retired diplomat Charles Crawford, founder of ADRg Ambassadors.
Writing in today’s Daily Telegraph, he said: ‘Both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and the Games themselves sent much more important messages round the planet.
‘They presented a free, dynamic, confident, creative, inclusive, efficient, successful and inventive country, in which women and men alike stand tall.
‘And while most countries round the world enjoy some of those attributes, only a tiny number seriously can claim to meet them all.’
If there were any glitches, they belonged to the various sporting organisations under the umbrella of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Boxing was one, where some of the scoring beggared belief; swimming was another, simply because too many medals were doled out in one sport.
And, despite reports that outgoing BBC Director General Mark Thompson was ‘increasingly unhappy that we are focusing far too much on Team GB’s performance to the exclusion of all else’, old Auntie Beeb did an outstanding job covering so many events in such fine detail. Clearly many lessons were learned from the Corporation’s lamentable coverage of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Of the presenters, for my money Clare Balding outshone the lot. She was a colossus of knowledge, completely unfazed by the challenge, a professional totally in command of her brief.
Contrarily, Matt Baker’s a highly likable lad, but should stick to his day job on The One Show and Countryfile. Where anchoring the Games was concerned, sadly he was an also-ran.
So, on to Rio in 2016, where I’m certain the Brazilians will deliver a spectacle buzzing with pizzazz and panache.
Nonetheless, London 2012 will be a hard act for any host city to follow.