As a once-in-a-lifetime broadcasting moment draws to a close, I want to pay tribute to every single person in the BBC who has helped to bring London 2012 to our audiences.

I am very proud of all our staff, from our on-air presenters, reporters and commentators, to all those who have worked tirelessly behind the camera and the mic. It's needed total commitment and great stamina through very long hours, but everywhere I've been over the past fortnight I've seen amazing team-work, passion and utter professionalism. The result has been the best coverage of any event by a broadcaster that I have ever had the privilege to witness.

For most people in this country, their experience of the Games has been through the BBC. Over 50 million viewers have watched our programming. The astonishing opening ceremony (which included several films made by the BBC including that unforgettable 'Good evening, Mr Bond' moment) drew a peak audience of 26.9m (27.1m including red button) and still had over 20m people watching after midnight. That all makes it one of the most watched programmes in the history of BBC Television. But that was only the start. Over the days since then, there have so many individual moments of triumph and drama - some playing to tens of millions of people, some to a few hundred thousand on one of our special Olympic channels, though none the worse for that. And all of them on the BBC.

Work began many years ago with a decision not only that we would commit to broadcast every moment of the games and carry every sport live, but that we would also attempt to reflect all aspects of the games' impact on the UK. In order to deliver this undertaking the BBC 2012 team, led by Roger Mosey, began the job of coordinating with teams across the BBC to ensure we had the resources and the programming to cover the biggest broadcasting event in our 90 year history.

In the years and months leading up to the games we told the journalistic stories behind the huge preparations, good and bad, in our news, current affairs and factual programming. Once the Olympic flame arrived in the United Kingdom on 18th May, BBC teams from across the country made sure every step of its journey was covered. As well as rolling online coverage, our local and regional news teams did a fantastic job of reporting the experience of the torchbearers and the huge crowds that turned out to greet them. This set the scene for the start of the games themselves.

As the sport got under way, an enormous effort swung into place to make sure we offered the most complete coverage of an Olympic games ever. Alongside programming on our main channels, we carried 24 HD streams from around the different venues so fans of every sport, from archery to wrestling, could follow the games live. Dave Gordon, who is working on his tenth summer Olympics for the BBC, has overseen a Herculean effort by Barbara Slater's BBC Sport teams in London and Salford, and at Eton Dorney, Weymouth and all the other locations around the UK, and I'd like to say thank you to all of them.

It's fair to say the coverage has been generally very positively received by the critics. But more importantly than that, it has set a new benchmark for audiences about how we cover big events in the future. In particular, this was the first truly digital Olympics and it gave them more choice and more control than they have ever experienced before.

Our Future Media teams designed and created ground breaking online services. So far we've had over 50 million requests for the BBC Sport's live video interactive streams, there have been 1.9m downloads of the BBC Olympics App, and perhaps most impressively the first week of the games was the most popular ever for BBC Sport Online with a total of 34.7m browsers.

Meanwhile, teams from radio and television have supported the sports coverage, with factual, drama and music programming providing a flavour of the games impact on the whole country.

None of this could have happened without a great deal of work behind the scenes to make sure everything ran smoothly and get the extra channels (both television and radio) on air without a hitch - although sometimes it's taken nerves of steel! Everyone who has worked in the BBC's Operations Group, which ensures the technology, distribution of content, and support services for all our programmes, has played a vital role.

While today sees the end of our Olympic coverage, the Paralympics will be beginning on August 29th and Radio 5 Live will be bringing audiences full coverage of the games, building on their terrific work at the Olympics, that has delivered the station's best ever audience appreciation figures. Our News and Global News teams will continue to bring the stories of the games to our national and international audiences, with the same authority, objectivity and an entirely justified touch of pride that they have shown throughout the Olympics.

So I'd like to conclude by saying thank you to all of you for your hard work, but also to our audiences for being there and sharing this unique experience with us. The London games are ending but the story of the BBC and the Olympics goes on. We've secured the rights to cover the winter and summer games to 2020. That means that we'll be in Rio in four years time and our ambition there will be the same as it's been in London. To use our creativity and experience, the latest technology and the oldest story-telling skills to once again offer our audiences the very best seats in the house. Thank you.

Mark Thompson is Director General of the BBC

UPDATE (Monday 13 August 2012): Today, the BBC released up-to-date information on TV and online statistics. Further information and links available here.

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  • Comment number 29. Posted by FrancisLaud

    on 26 Aug 2012 21:29

    Thank you to all at the BBC, I loved every minute of it.

    Like most people I enjoyed the drama on TV. But I also enjoyed the tension that builds through the radio when you have to let the imagination do the work and why oh why does it seem to take an eternity for the text commentary to update at those critical moments. Many a performance was heard, or read, not watched.

    I will of course buy the DVD box set when it comes out. I really want to remember the whole experience of these Games.

    Please do not forget radio and digital when you create the lasting record.

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  • Comment number 28. Posted by FIA_sco

    on 20 Aug 2012 18:02

    I thought the fact that I could go online and watch any session of any sport was absolutely fantastic. I travelled down to London on Super Saturday to watch the women's traithlon so missed a lot of the live action so being able to see the events as they unfolded and not just edited highlights was special. A few words of criticism though Some of the highlights would often have 'mood-making' music over the top of them - nothing beats the atmosphere of the crowd and a good commentator. Also, at many events, it was difficult to pick up the arena announcements particularly during medal ceremonies - surely this should have been ironed out during Olympic readiness events. Finally, please review your policy of commentators and summarisers talking over medal ceremonies, I can't imagine what the families and friends who went through years of sacrifice think of that but I know it annoyed me. However, overall, an excellent job and cutting edge - well done.

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  • Comment number 27. Posted by jason

    on 15 Aug 2012 15:29

    london 2012 was a triumph and in no small part was that success due to the bbc and the truly wonderful coverage. i was privileged to go twice, once on my own to the stadium and once more with a friend to the bronze medal women's hockey match. i got tickets through hours and hours of click refresh on the ticket site and it well worth the rsi i got from clicking ;-) no delays in and out of london, happy smiling volunteers and happy smiling people from all over the world. everyone i met said how welcomed they felt and what a fantastic once in a lifetime experience it was. add some truly exceptional sport and well.. it was a dream come true for me. simply brilliant.

    but what now? london 2012's slogan was inspire a generation, so lets follow that statement through. lets find some kids who were inspired by what they saw on their tv's, lets have a series of programmes following their journey from i think i can do that right through to competing at rio 2016 or 2020.

    lets see the funding put to work, lets see them progress through training, regional and national events and watch how it changes their lives, let the uk see that the Olympic budget was worth it. and lets get more kids inspired by watching their peers progress and get better with hard work and determination.

    we need something to follow these exceptional olympics so come on auntie lets have a little more inspirational tv?

    come on team GB!!

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  • Comment number 26. Posted by That Jim

    on 14 Aug 2012 19:08

    The Olympics coverage was spectacular. It was everything we love about the BBC with bells on. Talk about showing the rest of the industry how it's supposed to be done. I refuse to believe that any broadcaster, anywhere in the world, could have done a better job, even with twice the budget.

    On top of that, I read elsewhere that it cost every licence fee payer in the country £5.00 each. I simply cannot think of a better example of how ad-free, public service broadcasting wipes the floor with subscription satellite and cable.

    The icing on the cake, was at the end of the closing ceremony, the very next programme in the schedule was The Sky at Night. Just poetry.

    The athletes may have lifted our spirits, but it was the BBC who made us proud to be British.

    Thank you.

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  • Comment number 25. Posted by Ian Ringer

    on 14 Aug 2012 07:22

    May I add my thanks to the BBC for the coverage of the Olympic Games? It was the BBC at its best - all stops pulled out! Particular thanks go to the Clare Balding, Denise Lewis, Michael Johnson, Steve Cram Colin Jackson and all of the other presenters and anchors. Of course, the many 'behind the scenes' staff must have worked extremely hard so a very gracious thanks goes to them too.
    Generally, the BBC, for me, is the pinnacle of public service broadcasting. The Olympics coverage shows that - and all for a few pence a week and NO ADVERTISEMENTS - hooray! Well done BBC. Please work hard to resist the pressures to become 'more commercial' i.e sell out tot the private sector. Thanks again.

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  • Comment number 24. Posted by Larraine

    on 14 Aug 2012 01:40

    Just wanted to say a huge thank you for the 2012 Olympic coverage. It was awesome ! Sue Barker , Gary Linekar , Clare Balding , Gaby Logan & John Inverdale were immense. Respectful, Insightful , Enthusiastic and Knowledgable. Having past champions in the studio was so clever..... Just love Michael Johnson and John Mac ........... It made my Olympic journey so enjoyable Thank you all so much xxx

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  • Comment number 23. Posted by MoHasanie

    on 13 Aug 2012 23:21

    Fantastic coverage BBC! I was fortunate enough to be in the UK and be able to watch the part of the BBC coverage for a few days. After leaving the UK and having to watch my local country's coverage, I really missed how extensive and outstanding the BBC coverage was; Every program was very good, every BBC channel was excellent (including all the Olympic channels), all the presenters were excellent, and the online coverage was also great; I was able to watch 3 or 4 sports at the same time on my laptop and TV. I also really enjoyed reading the live text updates of the entire BBC sports team.
    After leaving the UK, I continued being very entertained by the BBC coverage through the website and watching BBC World News. Overall 10/10 coverage BBC! If only other broadcasters would learn from you about how to successfully broadcast such a huge event. I can't wait for Rio, so I can watch the BBC again!

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  • Comment number 22. Posted by Jan Bird

    on 13 Aug 2012 17:00

    Thank you so much for the superb coverage of the Olympics - congratulations to everyone involved for what must have been a massive exercise. It was clearly very well planned and it showed. I wasn't able to get to the Games but truly felt like I didn't miss a thing. It's been in my living room for the full 2 weeks and I'm missing it already! The presenters too were perfectly chosen. The coverage has been complemented by the wonderfully comprehensive website - updated so fast - it was my "go to" place for any Olympic information. Friends in the USA have been very envious!

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  • Comment number 21. Posted by Dan

    on 13 Aug 2012 15:15

    I think the coverage on the BBC for the London 2012 Olympics was fantastic. I only have freeview but with the additional HD channels from the BBC proved invaluable.
    I watched the opening ceremony, the closing ceremony and all the highlights in 3D and it was absolutely fantastic. I just hope some of the other channels can follow suit.
    I think the people at the BBC have worked really hard during these Olympics and deserve our thanks and recognition.

    Lets just see if Channel 4 can keep the standard as high as the BBC.

    Thanks

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  • Comment number 20. Posted by James Barnard

    on 13 Aug 2012 15:12

    Well done BBC. You did a fantastic job at the Olympics and the presenters were stunning. Thank God we have a superb public service broadcaster unspoiled by endless commercial breaks.
    Thank you.

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