As the London 2012 Olympic Games wind down, organisers are gearing up for an enormous evening farewell party.
As the main stadium was being transformed for the closing ceremony, organisers breathed a sigh of relief that pre-Games fears about transport and security came to nought.
The Prime Minister said all the effort, and the 12-billion euro price tag will bring benefits.
Flanked by Lord Coe, the mastermind behind the games, David Cameron said: “We’re making sure the impact of these games isn’t just for summer, but for good. There’s going to be a physical legacy of course, with that stunning Olympic Park put to good use. There’ll be an economic legacy with new deals brokered on the back of these games, particularly ahead of Rio 2016. There’ll be a volunteering legacy, so that if people want to play a bigger part in a bigger society, then we give them that chance.”
In a country racked by recession, one national British newspaper called the event the “feelgood Games.” At the Olympic Park there were few who would disagree.
Michael Burn from Hertfordshire said: “The organisation – brilliant. If I have any minor criticism, it’s the ticketing, but everyone wants tickets – they’re massively oversubscribed, so not everybody can get a ticket. I’ve been very fortunate, I’ve been coming virtually every day.”
Kevin Aldeirson from Reading said: “I did see Sydney on television and that was excellent. Beijing was very impressive, just the scale of Beijing. I liked Beijing, but I think London has been the best.”
London’s colourful mayor Boris Johnson provided one of the few hitches of the Games when he got snagged on a zip-wire. He will undoubtedly benefit politically from the improvement of a once neglected part of the city.