The first concern was that the opening ceremony was not an embarrassing disaster. We could live with boredom, tedium or two hours military bands and pomp but please not humiliation.
Certainly it was a bit surreal in places but it did fully represent the diversity and history of the nation. Oddly, the British reaction was not only overwhelmingly positive but lacked any concern as to how it was viewed by the global audience.
We didn't expect our American cousins to understand the references to the National Health Service but for that we felt rather smug. Nor did we expect the French nation to embrace James Bond or the Queen, after all they thought so little of their own royalty, they cut off their heads.
Given that opening ceremonies are in all truth rather silly and that the seemingly endless procession of athletes was enough to test the patience of Mother Teresa, it was by all accounts a success. Indeed the one Conservative MP who took to Twitter to label it 'leftie multicultural crap,' was practically marched to the Tower of London and was even disowned by those with more right wing views than his own.
Britain had performed well in the Beijing games and while it was certain that the USA and China would thrive, it was unclear whether the Brits would enjoy the same level of success. The early victories for the French swimmers combined with Francois Hollande's assertion that "The British have rolled out a red carpet for French athletes to win medals," sent shudders down the collective spine. This was starting to feel like being on the receiving end in a local derby.
After a sluggish start, British athletes produced success after success, with numerous victories in both cycling and rowing, as well some golden displays in the most unlikely of places. I found myself watching dressage today and must say that I had never previously enjoyed horses dancing to the chimes of Big Ben but that is all part of the glory.
Before the games there was much soul searching about the cost and the legacy. With a cost to each British taxpayer being claimed to be as high as £400 (although that figure is hard to quantify) and the prospect of the traffic in London being even more diabolical than usual, there was much cynicism amidst the pre-games optimism. Talk of legacy focused entirely on the physical structures left once the athletes had packed their medals and moved onto their next competitions.
Perhaps hosting the Olympic games is a little like having your first child. All the discussions beforehand prove to be completely worthless and your life is never the same again. Seeing a young boy staring saucer-eyed at Usain Bolt and a generation of youngsters witnessing their peers creating history, would certainly appear to offer a legacy that counts for a lot more.
But what of the British reticence, over-caution and stiff upper lip? They have invested money in their athletes and the whole nation is basking in their success. There is a tangible feeling of national pride and optimism, with self-doubt consigned to being so 2011. This goes somewhat beyond legacy and enters the realms of earth shattering.111428