London 2012 at the Halfway Mark
“The first half of the London Games has been a spectacular success that has transformed a naturally cautious British public into a nation of delirious cheerleaders.” — Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Organizing Committee
As the London Olympics reaches its halfway stage, I can almost hear the bell ringing as if I’m running once more in the Olympics, and there is now just one lap, or one week as it happens, to go.
The finishing line still seems quite far away but things are going better than anyone in my team could have expected, based on some of the predictions of gloom and doom in the lead up to the event, which tends to be part of the landscape for all Games, it seems.
The most pleasing part of this first week of the Games has been feedback from athletes and team officials who have said they have rarely, if ever, witnessed sport that has been so well presented, attended or so compelling.
Glancing over my shoulder I know problems will always be lurking, but if we just push on, there is now a good chance that we can cross the finishing line at next Sunday’s Closing Ceremony, having delivered an electrifying sporting experience for the athletes of the world.
The first half of the London Games has been a spectacular success that has transformed a naturally cautious British public into a nation of delirious cheerleaders. It has also entranced visitors, spectators and foreign journalists who are experiencing an Olympics designed to show off sport and the athletes in London and its iconic landmarks at their best along with a cheery hospitality and a warming human touch.
We wanted to stage a Games for everyone and the whole nation has responded by embracing the Olympics in a way few of us thought possible. They have been inspired by epic moments and memories created by Jessica Ennis, Greg Rutherford, Mo Farah and many others, who have inspired a generation.
Ordinary people with no previous interest in sport are asking arcane questions about the rules of the keirin cycling event or why three-day eventing lasts four days. Britons everywhere are glued to their television screens watching sports they had barely heard of before. On the trains and underground network serving the venues, whole carriages are abuzz with excited Olympic chatter.
Sebastian Coe is chairman of the London 2012 Organizing Committee. The Sport Intern is published by Karl-Heinz Huba, in Lorsch, Germany. This article is reprinted here with his permission. He can be reached via email at ISMG@aol.com. If any readers have different opinions about the success of these Olympics please submit comments to the Digest.