The 'People's Games' was a true London success
- 15 August 2012
- From the section London
At the end of last year, I wrote a blog about what I thought the 2012 Olympics would be like.
I was convinced the British public, and especially Londoners, would give everybody a warm welcome and that they would help create a brilliant atmosphere for the athletes.
I predicted that the buzz would be better than Sydney in 2000 and Barcelona in 1992, the two Games I remember with the most excitement.
Well, London didn't just live up to those expectations, it surpassed them by miles.
These Games have been, by far, the best of the 13 Winter and Summer Olympics I have reported on and many of my international colleagues agree with me.
They were the "People's Games" because it was the public who got past all of the controversy over ticket sales and empty seats and did their best to get to the Games and cheer on everybody.
With respect to the rest of the UK, Londoners deserve loads of credit for this.
The fact is that people in the capital and the South East applied for two thirds of the tickets.
It was largely Londoners who came into the Olympic Park on day passes and made the atmosphere outside of the venues so special.
And, although people did travel from the rest of the country and abroad to volunteer, it was mostly Londoners who did a brilliant job as "Games Makers" and "London ambassadors".
Sometimes in the capital, we live our days in black and white but for the duration of the Games, I lived mine in colour.
I witnessed a festival atmosphere in and outside of the Park which I've never experienced in London.
It was better than Sydney because the crowds were so excited for all of the sports.
It was better than Barcelona because they cheered on every sporting feat - not just from the Brits - and they took the Olympic spirit across a huge capital.
I remember Sydney and Barcelona for the noise and excitement and I will remember London because of the heart and passion which the public brought to every minute of the Games.
London will benefit from all of this in the long term.
More major sporting events are going to come to the facilities in Stratford because for the first time in our lifetime, we have superb facilities on our doorsteps which can be used by the public and elite competitors alike.
Obviously, there is loads of work to do to make sure the Park creates the jobs and homes which were promised and BBC London will be following the work of the Mayor's Legacy Corporation closely in the next few years to make sure that happens.
The future of many of the venues is already secure but there are still some important deals to be done.
We have questioned the big decisions taken by the organising committee, the Government (both Labour and the coalition), the Mayor Boris Johnson (and Ken Livingstone before him) and Olympic bosses in the past seven years.
Some have accused us of being negative about the Games because of that but it did the Olympics no harm by scrutinising everything, especially given the fact that so much taxpayers' money has been spent on the event.
Can the capital do it all again for the Paralympics? Now, that has never been done before.