Aug 13 2012 By Paul Warburton
THE flame is out – and me with it.
Had a fab time over the last two weeks, but am burned as a result of getting to, from, and around 10 Olympic venues non-stop.
I reckon that gives me a reasonable shout at chucking in my tuppence worth on things 2012.
First off, whoever trained the 70,000 ‘Games Makers’ deserves a knight or damehood.
No ifs, buts or maybes: the help and manner from practically all was amazing – note the ringing applause for same at the closing ceremony.
I’ve been wished many ‘have-a-nice-days’ through pearly-white teeth in the States over the last 30 years, but the Brits do it better and with individual panache.
Sure, there were moments when homegrown sardonic humour won out, and my favourite was the night it got a wee bit congested at Stratford station.
“Ladies and gentleman,” boomed a tired voice over the tannoy, “we REALLY do need you to keep behind the yellow line. That’s the one very near the same colour as all those Team GB medals…”
But for the most part, they and the military did it cheerfully, and with knowledge.
How is that possible?
It can’t last, and it’s back to service with a grimace this week, but hey, prove me wrong and you, I, and 60 million Brits will have moved on.
Best venue? That’s a tricky one to tell the truth.
In terms of intimacy and closeness to action: Lord’s and the archery. The whole show, spectators, targets and archers were all neatly shoehorned into 80 square yards.
In terms of spectator view, that has to be Greenwich Park. A natural amphitheatre for the equestrian events – and the backdrop of Queen’s House and the City of London were mightily impressive.
In terms of spectator involvement, and as hard as they tried in the athletics stadium, that goes to the beach volley in Horse Guards Parade. Never has a more traditional landmark been transformed into a rocking laugh.
An awful lot of the rest had a bit of a pre-fabricated look, and there must have been a trillion miles of scaffolding keeping the stadia standing.
But the athletics looked great, and it will be a fine setting for the 2017 World Championships, but as a football arena? There’s a bit of me would like to see Leyton Orient take over – just for a laugh. The O’s average gate should just about be able to fit into the media tribune.
Let’s hope all those minor sports don’t just fit into souvenir albums and get forgotten.
Maybe in Rio as a result of 2012 legacy, it will be 30 gold medals.
As a youngster said yesterday: “the last two weeks have been buzzy. It’s a pity the Games don’t go on longer.”
Amen to that.