I hope I’m not tempting fate, but I’m going to call it early – the London 2012 Olympics will be a resounding triumph. Seb, you and your team can let out a sigh of relief. Britain as a nation should do so as well. It could have been very different. The brief taster of what was to come in London at the end of the Beijing closing ceremony of 2008 felt clichéd and a bit trifling compared to the scale of the Chinese spectacle. It hinted at embarrassment to come in four years time.
Disaster averted. Putting aside Anish Kapoor’s Orbit rollercoaster on the Olympic park, the Abba gold hoodies of Team GB and Cav's missed medal on the opening day, London 2012 is going to be a notable and lasting success. The sponsors’ empty seats will continue to cause modest furore but it’s not a new issue and they do pay an awful lot for them which means you and I contribute a little less through our taxes. And I suspect the seats will fill as more clamour goes up and the word goes out from senior management at the sponsors that the corporate seats will be used or else.
It is not by accident that London 2012 is working. Seb Coe and his team have undertaken years of preparation, turning over every stone to maximise performance, just like the competing athletes. The opening ceremony rehearsal was well covered, with the lights and fireworks providing a backdrop to a BBC report and Danny Boyle’s plea to #SaveTheSurprise causing a twitter. But there was far more than one rehearsal – the volunteers were brought together at least 140 times to perfect their involvement and they can feel immensely proud of their contribution, in front of the eyes of the world.
I’m on route to the weightlifting this afternoon. Looking forward to seeing the impossible made possible by the mightiest of midgets.
For more insight into the Olympic experience, The Secret Olympian is available in paperback, ebook and audiobook