Not a bad word in the front pages of the British press this morning. This bad tempered, short memoried crew either were not watching Twitter during the closing ceremony last night, or they decided to give it a bye ball for the sake of the overall effort.
I thought Zoe Williams made a good point on the World Tonight on Friday evening to the effect that whilst the British like to say they are crap at this, that and the other, Mitt Romney made the mistake of actually believing that they really meant it.
Yes, it put London on business hold for two weeks. I was there on Friday and it was almost a ghost town. And yes, Weymouth plainly over-catered for crowds that did not in the end arrive.
(The local shopkeepers’ gripe that most Olympic watchers took their own food and camped on the beach for a fortnight, underscored somewhat by the fact that is exactly what we did in our own vain attempt to cheer Annalise Murphy home to a medal.)
But over catering for the vast human flux that is the Olympic Games is better than under doing it. It no doubt helped that the timing coincided with the beginning of the state school holidays, with much of the London population shipping out en masse.
Last I heard on Friday seat sales – which were a nightmare at the beginning – should bring in something in excess of £150 million. A drop in the ocean to what it all cost, but there will be long term benefits, like the opening of some serious traffic bottle necks in south Dorset.
The atmosphere was relaxed and the array of international accents on the tube in London was even wider than is normal for that most cosmopolitan of cities.
The truth is that the Brits are rather good at this sort of thing: ie, organization and strategy. My one serious gripe though it that last night’s closing ceremony suffered from rather too much of both.
It’s as though it were a pay off to the various Arts Councils, one of several stakeholder groups that have had to forego funding (from official government sources and lottery) in order to afford the deeper investment in #TeamGB’s Olympic performance.
Too many dead and lingering pop stars of the past, not enough funk. Or come to mention it, any much more than a nod to the achievements of those (quotidien) athletes who made the last two weeks such a great international experience.
Best summed up by Tim Jonze who was live blogging it for the Guardian last night:
The truth is that if being ‘cool’ demonstrates too much effort (according to Castiglione << seriously, go listen, and you’ll get what I mean) then it just ain’t cool…
On the other hand the actual Games most definitely were…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty