After a fortnight of incredible athletic performances and great shows of sportsmanship, of glorious victory and head-down defeat that have had the rapt attention of not just Britain but the entire world, the London 2012 Olympics have now come to an end. So what’s next? Do we pretend that nothing ever happend and go back to our daily lives? I should hope not.
Let’s go back to Day One for a moment. Danny Boyle’s spectacular Opening Ceremony stood apart from its predecessors because it had something to say, perhaps particularly to its British audience. The reflection upon what was once Britain and what we’ve become began long before the start of the Games. But London 2012 invited us to embrace and celebrate more than ever what Britain is today.
Even Charlie Brooker admitted that the games somehow confounded his inner cynic and ate up the Games. Not to mention, many friends around me that had moaned about how the Olympics would interrupt their daily lives made it the focus once it all started. This is what I love about the Olympics. Quite simply, it brings people together. And it certainly did as we saw thousands of volunteers work tirelessly to help make these Games a tremendous success.
This is also where I wish the media would have shut up about all that was predicted to go wrong. Perhaps it’s their job to stir the pot, but didn’t anyone have faith in their own country? Perhaps not then but what about now?
And let’s not forget what we witnessed last night — an amazing close to a spectacular Olympics. No nation in the world has a greater musical history than the UK, so I had no doubt the closing ceremony would be a sight to behold. It was a true ‘symphony of British music’ — from Elgar to Jessie J, who could ask for anything more?
Now if you’re with Aidan Burley, the Conservative MP who tweeted his fury at the “multicultural crap” he saw in Boyle’s extravaganza, you may want to crawl back into your little hole and cry. But if you’re like most Britons, who celebrated and took pride in being a part of how Britain was represented these past two weeks you will add it to another reason why Britain is so great today.