On Sunday night here in London, the Olympic Games ended with closing ceremonies that reminded the world that, yes, a lot of popular music has come from Britain.
London was never going to out-Beijing Beijing, and the wisest decision was not even to attempt it. Instead, the organizers of London 2012 decided that Beijing could not out-Britain Britain, and that there was something of value for the Olympic movement and the world in that distinction.
The past 17 days have proven them right.
They have proven that the Olympics did come to their spiritual home in Britain – where rowing and fencing and tennis, not to mention the sporting ideals that underlie the entire Olympic movement, began.
They have proven that their city’s history and charm was more than enough to compensate for the lack of signature venue like the Bird’s Nest or Water Cube. Could any other city match the scenes at Horse Guards Parade or Wimbledon or the Mall?
But more than any of these things, London 2012 has proven, beyond the remotest doubt, that much if not most of Britain truly did want these Olympics in the end. Not for national pride, though that was in present in good regulation, but because it was a bloody brilliant time to be British.
“These were happy and glorious Games,” said International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge at the closing ceremonies, quoting a line from the British national anthem.
Now we wait four more years to see what Rio will bring us.
Theme song of Rio 2016 Olympic Games