After seven years of planning, and 16 days of competition, the main Olympic flame has finally faded in London. While for now, we bathe in the warmth of it’s memory, the future might not be so warm.
We started the Games by giving the world a bizarre history lesson of our country and we ended with a showcase of the greatness of our music. This was followed by the inevitable demonstration that we can provide a superb display of pyrotechnics to rival almost anyone.
Despite the early worries over security, congestion, disruption and general chaos in London, the Games have passed off with relatively little in the way of negative comment. They have been judged by most to be a remarkable success.
The planning has indeed been immaculate and the selfless goodwill of the volunteers has been rightly applauded. The individual displays of human endurance, personal fitness and competitive spirit, by the world’s top athletes, has been nothing short of stunning. Several new world records have proved we are still, as a race of people, developing our true potential.
But now, the real challenge is about to begin: it is time to prove there will be a future beyond the Games.
Much has been promised on a legacy but little has been explained. It seems a legacy is not easy to define.
Firstly, there’s the future of the Olympic venues and the building of communities that surround them. Secondly, there’s the problem of how to build on our existing sporting achievements. Both of these depend, almost exclusively, on political will and determination.
As we all know, governments can change overnight and politicians say only what they think we want to hear.
Ultimately, it will probably all come down to money. However, I have a feeling that the future aspirations of our young people will have been fed more by the ‘celebrity’ of artists performing at last night’s closing ceremony than by the hard graft, dedication and pain, needed to train to become a world beating athlete.
But then….I once won a Gold medal for cynicism!