And so it is over. Today, the athletes. the trainers, the sponsors and their assorted lackeys pack up their bags and leave the party.
Years of expectation and effort concentrated into a single moment. Would people turn up, would they have a good time, would that idiot with the stink bombs stay away, and as they drift back home, we kick off our shoes, sit back and let out a contented sigh.
It went quite well after all.
The ominous foreboding image of the Olympic Flame blowing out in a Grecian bust of wind was vanquished as mass crowds came out across the UK to mark the passage of the flame around the country.
A secular Britain had a new God to worship, as the flame, itself a gift of the gods was paraded around like some modern day holy relic. But unlike state religion, the relic wasn’t carried by people so remote from us as to be untouchable, but by local heros.
Crowds came out to celebrate the arrival of the holy icon, and the local runners who demonstrated that rewards do not need to involve money, and that fleeting fame can be achieved without appearing in a TV talent show.
Sport, so often advertised by its associated purveyors of Mammon as an Olympian achievement that is only attainable by the very elite of people was brought crashing down to British soil by 8,000 very ordinary people.
It was often the simplest acts that worked best – and despite the cavalcade that accompanied the flame, all eyes were on just one person and one torch. The attempt to show off by flying the flame over to Tower Bridge and abseiling down left most people disappointed as the action took place at a distance and all too briefly.
In fact, anything involving abseiling along wires seemed doomed to failure. Boris.
Equally doomed to failure seemed to be predictions of failure. Mitt Romney.
Talking of predictions of doom, what happened to the transport nightmare? The RMT spent oodles of time explaining how things would come to a grinding halt as maintenance cuts lead to a cascade of failures across the network. Indeed so dire were their predictions that they wanted extra money to cope with it all.
And yes, the transport networks broke passenger records, which should help with the bank balance, but where was everyone seemed to be the main cry from Londoners. Curmudgeons in the West End bemoaned the lack of shoppers, while Westfield had to close its Stratford doors due to the flood of people waving Visa cards at the tills.
I managed to arrive at North Greenwich just as they were turfing out people from the Arena, but it only took 10 minutes from back of crowd to being on a train, which seemed surprisingly fast considering the size of the crowd.
And the trains have been a multicoloured delight these past couple of weeks.
Despite a certain MPs disparaging remarks about multiculturalism, London is a noticeably multicultural city, but it wasn’t the faces that changed on the tube, it was the clothes.
Is that person decked out in the colours of the Nigerian flag someone who arrived in London two weeks ago, or twenty years ago? Who can say – and does it even matter?
A sea of orange heralded the arrival of the Dutch in one carriage last week. A glorious revolution on the tube, but instead of deposing the Monarch, we dropped her out of a helicopter instead.
A huge army of volunteers decked out in Imperial purple smiled their way between stations. Vast plastic placards around people’s necks announced their membership of the club of Olympic participants, and occasional sights of people with gold medals around their necks broadcast a membership of a rather more elite club.
The sheer variety on display turned the tube network into filaments of Olympic colour spreading throughout the city. Sometimes a Quality Street box of colours, and sometimes half a carriage filled with the same colour as groups of spectators travelled around together.
Unlike catching a train after a football match, where there is a slightly oppressive atmosphere as people all wear the same thing and chant the same chants, the Olympic travellers broke the model and their sheer variety was a delight to the eye and ear.
So admirably has the transport network coped with the Olympics that I cant help but wonder what we could do to keep it that way. More working from home? More holidays!
Probably one the most unexpected successes though was the security screw-up by G4S. Regardless of the company’s head-office messing up, the blunt fact is that an army of low-paid people of dubious intellectual ability was never going to be that good an idea. So they called in the actual army.
The nightmare vision of armed soldiers careful watching crowds from the sidelines as Al-Quaeda’s damoclean sword hung over the Olympic Stadium vanished as the soldiers mucked in and became an integral part of the festivities.
Protests about missiles on roofs and heaths have faded as the barely remembered fragments of a media fuss, while citizens discovered that soldiers are really quite nice people.
Even the sponsors managed to keep a surprisingly low key approach at the venues themselves. Although many justifiably laughed at protestations that venues were proud to be accepting just one brand of credit card, and McDonalds added an irksome level of Americanism to the Olympic Park. However, BMW’s inspired offer of radio controlled Mini’s inside the Stadium delighted many. Most probably didn’t even see it as sponsorship, in a Stadium that isn’t supposed have any, but it was very British. Very London.
And what on earth happened to the fuss about the sponsored wrap around the Stadium?
It was washed away as people simply forgot the bad news in the run up to the Olympics. Even the empty seat fuss was itself a sign that people were desperate to be there, to see something, anything frankly. People wanted to be part of the event and to be able to say they were there.
And London2012 could be the first Paralympics to sell out of tickets. Paralympians used to half-empty stadia or arenas filled with school kids bussed in by government edict will find venues packed out with people high on the excitement generated over the past two weeks.
Now that’s a legacy to be proud of.