The day after an opening ceremony that combined comedy and cinema, history and spectacle, music and emotion – there has been admiration and amazement at the dazzling, very British display.
Dazed Olympics fans could have been forgiven for forgetting there were sports events to go and watch.
Many British newspapers pictured the giant flame being lit and were pretty much unanimous in their praise for the grandiose start. “WOW” was the headline in The Sun. “Blast-off”, said the Daily Mail. Scotland’s Daily Record said “Pure Magic”.
There was plenty of wonder in the foreign press, too. The French sports paper L’Equipe’s headline read “We love these Games!”, in English. American correspondents wrote of the UK’s “slightly insane” self-portrait… the “rock-and-roll Olympics”.
The show left Londoners and visitors alike in awe.
“I think you guys have done a tremendous job,” said an American woman at the Olympic Park. “It is beautiful. I think the grounds are fabulous and the transportation has been wonderful. I have been surprised. I was a little worried but it has been wonderful.”
An English man said: “We are really proud and hopefully it sort of gives a bit of a message to the world that we are still a great country that can host events along with the best of them.”
Secrets remained secret, enabling the choice of seven young athletes who lit the ceremonial flame to take millions by surprise.
Queen Elizabeth allowing herself to be gently sent up in her James Bond cameo role fitted the spirit of the occasion perfectly.
Film director Danny Boyle’s outright bravado and cinematic touch left spectators and TV viewers open-mouthed. At the end, nothing was lost in translation as quirky Britishness gave way to a fireworks extravaganza.