With 24 hours to go before the curtain comes down on a remarkably successful London 2012, there is already a feeling here in the capital that we are in for a highly emotional end to the Games.
After a fortnight of sporting celebration the likes no country in the world has ever surpassed, to say that anyone who loves the Olympics will be sad to see the party come to an end would be an understatment
For Team GB and the Great British public it will be one almighty party that will celebrate an unbelievable medal haul and the fulfillment of staging an outstanding Games. To quote International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, London has been “the beating heart of the world, giving new life to the spirit of fair play and competition.
Rogge has praised Britain, acknoweldging the huge crowds that have filled the stadiums as well as saying those that lined the Olympic torch relay route had sent cheers resonating in every home around the globe.
Without doubt, London has delivered across transport, crowds, security and enthusiasm, making the predictable pre-Games cynicism by certain sections of the media look rather foolish.
Britain’s biggest medal haul in more than 100 years and the quality of the athletes’ performances have boosted the party atmosphere. And what a great choice by the British Olympic Association to choose record-breaking sailor Ben Ainslie to carry the flag at the Closing Ceremony.
Following Sir Chris Hoy, who carried the flag at the opening ceremony and then took his gold medal haul to six, it is a fitting tribute to Ainslie, who became the greatest sailing Olympian of all time during the Games when he won the Finn class – his fourth consecutive gold medal.
“It is a really proud moment for me and for sailing to have such an involvement at what’s been such an amazing Games for the whole country, ” was how Ainslie greeted the news. And I am sure every Team GB athlete will be proud to walk behind the 35-year-old who has a huge personality to match his legendary status.
Team GB’s Chef de Mission Andy Hunt said: “He has been at the heart of Great Britain’s Olymoic endeavours since 1996 and his achievements are already legendary. ”
Added Hunt: “As we pass the Olympic baton on to Rio, we as a team are privileged to have Ben lead the way.”