‘The centre of the world’ is a media hyperbole used too frequently to describe something that people from around the world are perceived to be focussed on. But last night’s breathtaking Olympic Opening Ceremony really was just that: a spectacle beheld by an estimated 4.8 billion people (meaning more individual eyes watched than the sum of all populations of all nations). And, taking place just over four miles virtually due north of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich (Greenwich Park the Equestrian and Pentathlon venue for the Games), there’s no denying that, last night, E20 2ST really was the centre of the world.
In precisely 24 hours, the Olympic Opening Ceremony is due to get under way, as the world’s eyes (an expected 4.8 billion people will watch) turn to London to see our capital city stage these 2012 Games.
For so many involved with the Games so far, it will in fact very much mark the end of their ‘Olympic journey’: the architects have long-since closed the files on the brilliant designs for the stadia, most of the builders have hung up their high-vis jackets and safety hats, while the final temporary signs are being tie-wrapped to lamp-posts and fences.
Now, E20 (the fictional EastEnders postcode officially issued to the Olympic Park by Royal Mail), along with all of the other venues, is ready. It’s now up to the athletes to do their very best. Team GB are already smiling: Andy Murray, of course, performed brilliantly on the lawns of Wimbledon just a few weeks ago, and last Sunday a Briton won the gruelling Tour de France competition.
Tom Daley, who was the subject of a truly excellent documentary that went out on Monday night, was eleven years old when Jacques Rogge announced the word ‘London’ (to the great delight of the thousands that had gathered in front of a big screen in Trafalgar Square) on 6 July 2005. Daley is now a man. Olympic organiser Seb Coe is now also seven years older and, unlike Tom, seven years greyer. But, despite all the headline-making “cock-ups” (not least last night’s Korean flag mix-up) and extreme costs of the Olympics, Seb and his team have done a great job.