The London 2012 Olympic Games are now in the history books, with athletes starting their travel home after a thrilling two weeks. So how did Great Britain fare in putting on these Games? The answer is simple – the first word in Great Britain – great. Everything was first class. The Brits outdid every expectation in every facet of the Olympic Games.
GLENN’S TOP TEN GREATS OF THE 2012 OLYMPICS
- The games-makers were great – these volunteers were absolutely splendid. Up to 70,000 volunteers were selected and very well trained by Olympic partner McDonald’s. Everyone commented on how friendly and helpful the volunteers were. They really were the key to making the Games a success.
- Transportation was great – all the fears of airport and train problems were solved. I went through London’s Heathrow Airport in the fastest time I have ever experienced, and the multitude of visitors were moving around London like travel pros using buses, the London Underground, which was well sign-posted, and other trains. It was easy to get around, though every place was crowded. Getting into and out of venues was smooth and efficient on foot to the various modes of public transportation, with a lot of help from games-makers on step-ladders with loudspeakers.
- Security was great – speculation and worry about security problems did not materialize. Police and security teams had a strong presence, but in a friendly, helpful way; screening at venues was fast and efficient.
- The venues were great – Beach Volleyball at Horse Guards Parade – what a superb venue; the Olympic stadium was magnificent; the Olympic Marathon course was brilliant (slight bias here, though, as I was somewhat involved in the course design), but it was a brilliant showcase and travelogue of the major sights of London – and what a spectacular finished with Buckingham Palace as the backdrop.
- The crowds were great – the noise was incredible inside the Olympic Stadium. The crowds went wild for every British athlete, but also offered wonderful support to all the international athletes. On Super Saturday, August 4th, when Great Britain won three Gold Medals with Jessica Ennis (Heptathlon), Greg Rutherford (Long Jump) and Mo Farah in the 10,000m event, it was a packed house. Every session in the Olympic Stadium, including morning sessions were sold out at 80,000 people. Women’s Soccer was playing to capacity (75,000) stadiums, and the crowds were huge watching road, cycling, race walking and the marathons, to mention just a few other events.
- The media was great – the BBC totally embraced the Olympic Games with amazing coverage (none of the tape-delay/”pretend” live broadcast by NBC, only to show US athletes). Here you could see everything in detail, and follow whichever sport you wanted to see. The newspapers gave extensive coverage daily.
- The athletes were great – the Games gave us so many magical moments, new and returning stars and great performances, but Mo Farah, for me, was the star of these Olympic Games with his 5,000m/10,000m double. Usain Bolt was a huge crowd favorite and delivered three golden performances.
- The organization was great – it was all brilliantly planned and organized. From the regeneration of a down-trodden area in East London, which became the Olympic Park Site, to the new creative venues, it was all first-class.
- The nation was great – the British embraced these Games. No doubt they will all have Olympic withdrawal symptoms in the next several weeks.
- The legacy needs to be one of greatness – the current debate in Britain is about sustaining an impetus, which has been created by these Games, and the push forward for the youth in the country. The British seem determined to answer the question of what happens in the afterglow of such an undertaking.