Team GB have found their feet on the medal table, the transport system thus far has sustained the onslaught and there have been no security short-falls. London is buzzing, and Usain Bolt hasn’t even reached full speed yet.
The mood surrounding the world’s biggest show could neatly be summarised by a scene I saw whilst interviewing fans at the newly refurbished Stratford Station this week. I was gaining the opinions of some of Team India’s travelling support when suddenly a dinge of hooters and chanting flooded the area and promptly put an end to my interviews.
I turned around and out of the station bounced at least ten young men dressed as zebras with Brazil capes, each holding the tail of the man in front. Chanting, dancing, posing for photos with a gleeful and cheering crowd and soaking in the sun and the atmosphere.
The Brazilian herd eventually found themselves in a big circle with a crowd of Jamaican flag-clad tourists and a dance-off ensued.
Whilst the sun (and Team GB’s medal trend) cannot be guaranteed for the rest of the Games, with characters like the zebras embracing the Olympic spirit with such aplomb, Great Britain Prime Minister David Cameron and London Games organiser Sebastian Coe can be assured that these games will be remembered as a success.
The opening ceremony was a celebration of British culture and humour and whilst I’m pretty sure 90% of the world would have only understood about 20% of what was happening, it was fun.
There have, of course, been sober moments to bring the party back down to earth. The badminton scandal and the tragic death of a cyclist after Bradley Wiggins’ victory over-shadowing what has been a very happy event.
London 2012 thus far has provided a timely distraction from the wider problems the world faces economically. The fact that such a well-run games have been staged at all is a miracle to some. Rio 2016 has quite an act to follow.
Athletes have had their dreams come true and shattered over the last week; but the crowd has never been left with anything less than a first-class spectacle.
London Mayor Boris Johnson and the rest of the British organising body have provided a wonderful chapter in Olympics history thus far and as the blonde-haired mayor would say, “Ping-Pong has come home”.
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|William A. Cook|