So, it’s all over. I feel numb, like I have a supercharged booze-fuelled hangover*. What a show, what an experience, what a performance from Britain and Team GB.

I’ve always been a fan of the Olympics but only now do I truly understand what it is all about, why it is commonly known as the greatest show on earth. The epitome of sport and everything it represents; dedication, passion, sacrifice, talent, pride, athleticism, emotion. We Brits like to whinge and moan more than most, ever the pessimists, the lasts 7 years has focussed on what would go wrong, whether we could ever live up to the medal tally of Beijing. But something funny seemed to happen to us all when Danny Boyle delivered one of the most spectacular shows I have ever seen, we suddenly started to believe. It was as though a switch had been flicked and we began to realise what we all already knew but rarely liked to admit, that Great Britain and the people in it aren’t so bad after all, at building stuff, at creating things, at beating the Aussies. The Olympics gave us all something to cheer and something to enjoy. Whether it was a golden letter box or an outdoor screening, people the length and breadth of Britain were coming together to celebrate the achievements of Team GB, both on and off the track.

Everything was done brilliantly, the venues were stunning, travel was better than we could have hoped, the BBC’s coverage was exceptional, and volunteers were helpful and always smiling. There may have been few empty seats but London 2012 will still go down as the best attended Olympics of all time, a fact that we should try not to forget.  

It’s hard to find one word to sum-up what the last two weeks has been like, Bert le Clos may have come closer than most when he cried “Unbelievable” as his son beat the most decorated Olympian of all time in the 200m butterfly. For me though, having scrolled through pages and pages of Twitter and Facebook updates, the overwhelming feeling is one of pride. Pride in the spectacle we have delivered, pride in the medals we have won but most of all pride in the way we have done it, with humour, positivity and a smile on our face.

The Olympics of London 2012 has been full of clichés but I don’t care one iota, it was bloody brilliant.

If you can’t find me in 2016, you know where I’ll be…

Richard Aldridge

*Disclaimer: The hangover may be partly booze induced.

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