The banners are still up and the centre of London remains festooned with national flags, but the Olympics are well and truly over and Britain is suffering withdrawal symptoms.
Few had expected the medals gold rush, or the smoothness with which the event went, or even the feelings the Olympics stirred in them and their normally hard-pressed fellow Londoners.
“I feel a bit sad it’s over now, although I hated it to begin with because of all the disruption to traffic and the noise, but it’s been a great time, it’s lovely; loved every minute,” said one Londoner. “I think they, (the athletes), have cheered us all up. They’ve made us more proud of ourselves as a nation and not so self-defeating and critical.”
“I liked the Olympics very much. I saw all the competitions I wanted, and the organisation has been fine, everyone has been very nice to me, so I’m happy,” added an Italian tourist.
The cost and revenues of the whole operation will be worked out later; for the moment London is basking in the glory of being a successful host while welcoming the world, a feeling money cannot buy, whether there is an Olympic dividend for the economy or not.
“No great glitches, no major incidents. London has made itself truly proud for being a perfect host for the world’s greatest sporting event, and for creating an atmosphere that will be remembered for years. Now it’s time to sit back, and look forward to the Paralympics,” says our London reporter Ali Sheikholeslami.