China certainly pulled all the stops out to make this probably the most enjoyable Olympics ever. Of course, it's not so hard to pull off an amazing show when you can throw unlimited money at it; the cost of the Beijing Olympics was over twice the budget for the London Olympics. I guess it's easier to raise the funds when you've got a single-party political system.
I've certainly never been as engrossed in the Olympics as I was this time round. There were so many amazing moments. It helps of course that Team GB did outstandingly well, and I also had the bonus of being able to support the Australian athletes.
It will be good to get an early night tonight after staying up most nights after midnight following the coverage. I'm glad I did though. It wouldn't have been the same watching Usain Bolt break both the 100m and 200m world records in a replay the day after.
Last night's closing ceremony certainly lived up to expectations after the amazing opening ceremony. I'm not too sure about the 8 minute London contribution though. They were never going to be able to compete with the grand majesty of what Beijing were offering, nor should they. But to say that 8 minute segment alone cost £2.5 million, I was expecting a little more. Perhaps I was expecting David Beckham to kick the ball 200ft into the air only for it to explode with a thousand Union Jack parachutes descending into the stadium? Seriously though it wasn't so much what they did, it was the general theme that I found a little disappointing. Please, give it a rest with the stereotypical stuff (it doesn't always rain in London (thanks to global warming), and not everyone goes to work on a red London bus). Also, give it a rest pushing London's cultural diversity down our throats. Yes, we know London is a conglomerate of lots of different ethnic communities, but so is Sydney, and New York, and Paris, and most other major capitals around the globe these days.
I really hope that in 2012 they try to be less funky and concentrate more on celebrating British history and culture. Britain's got an amazing story to tell - think Shakespeare, Newton, Darwin, Raleigh, Drake, The Battle of Britain, The Beatles, the countless inventions and discoveries, and not forgetting the sports that Britain gave to the world - football, cricket, tennis, golf, rugby, even Table Tennis, to name but a few.
Don't get me wrong, I did enjoy the London handover bit even though it was a little cringeworthy. I thought 'Whole Lotta Love' went down pretty well, and although it's getting a bit tired dragging Beckham out each time for these events, it probably was appropriate given his involvement in the bid as well as the fact that he is bigger than Jesus in Asia. Not just Asia, he draws a crowd everywhere. LA Galaxy are playing in Brisbane later on this year and you can bet that the stadium will be completely sold out.
Roll on 2012. I tell you though, if the opening ceremony of 2012 involves a thousand mixed-race kids wearing bowler hats and singing in cockney accents I'll happily surrender my British passport for good!