Well it’s over and the golden time is finished for another four years, after a great East End knees up that once again showcased the British culture and talent that we have given the world. The last two weeks has been almost mystical, when London became
a modern day Camelot where millions of smiling and happy faces all came together with all the other nations of the world in a unified and spectacular show of humanity at its very best.
Contributions came from all walks of life and were almost like a veil being lifted, as the country, with London as a focal point shrugged off the woes of the world and for a few short weeks became a haven for people to celebrate the finer points of being
human. The joy was bountiful and almost exponential as each day passed. Countless people were drawn together not just at the Olympic park but to every venue. Even parks erected large screens to show the action on the track the pool and the rivers, attracted
thousands to picnic and just come together with strangers, to be a part of the phenomenon. The result was almost a religious fervour - no more than that, it was where people were attracted to people and where race and religion and backgrounds were not important.
What was important was to be part of it and be there. No political or religious force could have created this force of good and caring and joy.
We saw laughing policeman and jovial soldiers all joking and having fun with the gathering crowds and having their pictures taken by so many excited and wonderful visitors to our City. My London has never looked better in Sun or Rain, as the people of the
City heartily welcomed everyone into the hearts. It was a demonstration of Britain at its very best and especially the East Enders.
Its people that make a great party and the last two weeks have been the most fantastic party ever. One that we all will never forget. Figures show record numbers were attracted to all Olympic events, with countless millions still unable to get tickets. This
is an unbelievable endorsement of sport and what it means to British people. People of all ages and walks of life came together as one and for two weeks we have all lived in a kind of euphoric Utopia.
I for one doubted if we could ever organise such a world class event in a City that has been battered in recent times and where people were psychologically down. As in the past, we have been badly let down by our politicians and administrators that frequently
get everything so very wrong. I could not envisage that our transport system would ever cope with such an influx of visitors and our capability to incorporate such a major disruption to our business. We also have a great capacity to shoot ourselves in the
foot. If we did that this time it would make us a laughing stock in the world’s media and damage our reputation in the eyes of all. I was magnificently, oh so wrong!
The organisation was outstanding, the transport system held up and when there were problems, it was fixed in a trice. In fact travelling over the last two weeks has been better than I can ever remember. Can we expect this to continue now the Olympics has
finished? I doubt it, but it goes to show what can be done with everyone working together at their optimal level. The patience of people under pressure to maintain such a high degree of service and just get on with it was a tremendous endorsement for the British
people and Londoners in particular. The famous Blitz spirit that I have often wondered if it was lost in history forever is, I am proud to say, still with us. Londoners are fantastic people. We have people from all over the world living in London and I overjoyed
to see how we are now all Londoners. The Olympics have endorsed and underlined this and in two weeks I have seen things that politicians have struggled to provide. It’s opened up a window of opportunity to capitalise and reinforce, so I hope we don’t lose
the gift that has been created. I hope all our political parties will ensure that the foundations of the last two weeks are just the start of a new future.
I have never been so proud to be a Cockney and a Londoner. I unashamedly applaud each and every one of the Londoners, for how they have encompassed the Olympic ideal. I especially applaud the hundreds of thousands of volunteers that came from all over Britain
and from other countries, to make the games so much fun, with an atmosphere that we have never witnessed before. It was a dreamlike and special period and it was all created by the people.
The opening ceremony will long live in the memory of everyone who took part, or had the pleasure of witnessing the very best of what Britain has to offer. We are an old and very proud nation that often gets it wrong and most people were worried about following
Beijing, but we did it our way and how fantastic it was. In London we now have the most diverse cultures of anywhere on Earth and for the last two weeks we have seen this celebrated like never before. London is a City of nations and we all came together like
never before as Londoners. Even our visitors became Londoners for two weeks, this community zeal and togetherness is something we can only marvel at just one year after riots and devastation.
People are having to live through the hardest economic period for many generations, but were still able to put their problems to one side and take part in the Olympic spirit. Londoners were the real winners at the Olympics, with everyone owning in part,
a little bit of the medals won by of all our wonderful champions. We all won for our country over the last few weeks.
The money provided to the various sports foundations from the Lottery and via our taxes has been money well spent and this must continue and grow. The lift that our athletes have given to the nation is worth every penny and much more than we have paid. It
has been money well invested and I hope that whatever Government maintains and improves upon the investment in Sport as it has benefits way beyond competing. However, well invested it will also produce even more special medal winners and competitors.
The athletes have all done our country proud. All the Gold medal winners are especially esteemed for getting to the top of their particular sport but all competitors are very special people. However, for me a few stood out.
Our little Mo (a Knighthood must be on the way) who captured the hearts of everyone and took his place on the stage of Britain’s greatest ever sportsman. In the beautiful Jess we had the darling of the nation, who won and coped with all the pressures of
our country’s expectations. How brilliant were our Cyclists in the velodrome; Sir Chris Hoy and Queen Victoria especially, and what about the young and upper coming cyclists that will surely become just as good. Our boxers were outstanding and showed all that
is best in the noble art winning a record number of medals. We had the first women to win a boxing medal a wonderful statement of the inclusive nature of the Olympics. On water that old seadog Ben reigned supreme again, but in the rowing and canoes we have
so many worthy champions. Our first Judo Gold that as much as anything demonstrates the need to financially support as many sports as possible to encourage more participation. In the Show Jumping and Dressage we showcased our wonderful horses and riders, hailing
from such different backgrounds which highlighted the individual investment by families in supporting their children to enable them to achieve and succeed.
I loved the pictures of Tom Daily who smiled and celebrated with his team jumping into the pool, as we all took a celebratory swim with him. He performed to a level that would have won a diving Gold at most other Olympics, but he was over joyed as we all
were with his Bronze medal and a deserved Gold to the American, but what a difference with the Chinese in tears and distraught at achieving a Silver. The attitudes were starkly different and I pitied the Chinese for theirs.
Every medal winner, gold, silver or bronze are heroes and deserve our grateful thanks, as do all the competitors who took part with grace and humility, always demonstrating the very best of British sportsmanship and fair play.
We have had our best every Olympics by number of medals. We have had the best supported Olympics in terms of attendances at every event. We have produced a fantastic structure legacy in a part of London for years ignored and we have planted memories in our
children that could produce not just success in terms of medals, but an enthusiasm in participation in sport never seen in the country before. The need now is to harness this time and ensure that this opportunity is not squandered. The Politian’s have this
responsibility and they have put Lord Coe in charge and if there is one man we should trust it’s Seb Coe.
More than all this it’s been the greatest two week party of all time and something that will forever live in the memory of everyone who watched it or took part, when London became a Golden land, a new Camelot.