If it’s possible to let out the breath you’ve been holding for 17 days, shed a tear and cheer at the same time, then that’s what most Brits did as the flames went out on the London 2012 cauldron and the Olympic flag was passed on to Rio 2016.
Lord Coe, the chairman of LOCOG the Games organizers, summed up the feelings in his speech at the closing ceremony saying, “When our time came – Britain, we did it right.” Discussion has now moved on to how to ensure the much trumpeted legacy for the Games.
The theme of the Games was “Inspire a generation” and it’s true that there has been a focus on encouraging more children to take up sports. But the spotlight has also been on the business legacy for the games. Behind the scenes there have been many receptions and meetings selling the benefits of doing business in Britain and using British suppliers.
And indeed, an important part of the 2012 legacy will be the reputational boost to those organizations involved in delivering the major capital projects providing the infrastructure which enabled the athletes to perform and the public to reach the venues. The solid proof which London 2012 gives that organizations can manage the risks on building stadia, delivering new rail lines, upgrading stations and improving roads, will be an important factor in the selection of suppliers for upcoming major infrastructure projects around the world.
But, as the awful realization dawns that the party is all over, perhaps the last word should go to the UK’s arch medal rivals Australia, “As awful as it is to admit, London 2012 was bigger, slicker, almost as friendly and more thoughtfully planned than Sydney in terms of the legacy it will leave the host city… It is, I’m afraid to say, bronze for Barcelona, silver for Sydney, and gold for London.” (Peter Wilson writing in The Australian)
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