We’ve won the fight, scored the goal, and hit our target. And other such clichéd phrases under the strained semantic field of success in sport, to show our satisfaction at being able to claim we staged this “greatest of games”. No one can honestly say that they ‘knew it would be alright all along’… but it turned out to be. The long-prophesied ‘London traffic meltdown’ never really materialised. Most of the empty seats in the venues eventually found warm bottoms to comfort. The hugely controversial surface-to-air missiles on that block of flats thankfully never needed to be deployed. But, on the subject of hitting a target, our Great British teams thrashed the ones they’d been set: TeamGB finished with 65 medals (25 of them Gold) compared to their target of 48, while ParalympicsGB (who beat their target of 103 medals on Thursday) leave the Athletes’ Village in third place on the table, with 120 medals in their bags (actually eighteen more than second-place Russia), including 34 Golds.
Now, as the circus packs up and heads for Rio, and the world’s athletes and journalists head back to their own respective countries, I’m sad that the thing we’ve all been following for weeks, months, and years – with both excitement and anticipation, and yet (until it actually began) a strange, irrepressible sense of doubt – is now over.
Today, I saw for the first time London’s 2012 velodrome building – and I was staggered by its beauty. It is, quite simply, wonderful – but also practical and well-designed.
Here’s an aerial photograph of it, taken within the last few days and posted to the BBC’s website. They say that it will be the first building to be completed, and is due to have the cranes rolled away in Spring 2011. Having never seen the designs for this specific building, it’s really made my day and has removed some of my doubts over us plucky Brits’ ability to do anything like as good a show as our Asian cousins did in 2008.
Regular readers may remember when I questioned how enthused London mayor Boris Johnson was about the Olympics, but this photo today is the symbol of Britain we want to portray – and I truly believe that it will come to symbolise the 2012 Olympics. I think that it will do for London what the Bird’s Nest did for Beijing back in 2008, that is to provide a focus point and backdrop for countless journalists’ reports.
With 617 days to go, things are really getting exciting – check out the rest of the airborne shots of its construction [external: Daily Mail].