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Your verdict on the London 2012 Games

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I think the final verdict on the London Games will not be known for many years. London certainly did not stage the grandest Games in history, but the longterm impact of these Games could be just as significant as Los Angeles, if not moreso. Ultimately, I believe that future host cities will be looking to London as the new model for a cost-effective, sustainable Games. Unlike Sydney, Athens, and Beijing, London is not leaving behind massive white elephants that will sit unused and bleed money for years to come. London's use of existing venues, temporary venues, and venues that can be reduced in size after the Games surely will impact the blueprints of future host cities. Just as Los Angeles proved that a city can make a profit on the Games and thus revitalized the interest for hosting the Games in cities around the world, London may very well have provided a cost-effective model that will give smaller countries hope that they could host the Olympics in the future.

The other important legacy from London, in my opinion, will be the renewal of interest in the Olympics amongst youth. For over a decade, the IOC has been lamenting the lack of interest from youth in Olympic sports. London's understanding and embracing of social media to engage young people around the world in the Games will pay dividends for the Olympic Movement for decades to come.

London was never going to match the overwhelming scale of Beijing or the historic setting of Athens, but I do believe that London has provided a realistic model that will impact future hosts for decades to come.

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I am obviously biased but I've had an absolute blast at these Games!

I really agreed with clembo's sentiments here.

At the end of the day comparing Olympics is like picking fine wine or cheese and I think London has put itself up with the very finest of vintages...

I'm not sure someone can ever claim a 'best ever' for something that is always going to be based on subjective thoughts. We could probably come up with some 'execution' rules but the 'style' marks will always depend on personal experiences. I love the idea of classing them as good vintages or drinks. There are days, after all, where I might prefer a good beer to a glass of red wine but both can be equally well made and regarded.

I've loved watching most Olympics games but had never been to a host city. The sport, as always, was rightly the focus and brought its own drama as it always does. The London backdrops to events looked fabulous; that may be because I'm used to seeing them in a different context so seeing them through fresh eyes made me see things again. I thought Greenwich Park and the Beach Volleyball really showed some iconic views. And travelling to Eton Dorney and watching the cycling road races really showed that Danny Boyle's green and pleasant land does actually exist in the lush countryside.

The crowds at the venues were loud and encouraging to all. I didn't hear booing of any competitors (even those directly against a Brit); the only booing I heard at venues was to do with those who didn't carry on a Mexican wave. Unfortunately, some of those moments came during 'play' which I hate as a discourtesy to the players. That phenomenom was largely tied to the hockey arena; most other venues managed to only 'wave' during breaks in play. The massive cheers for those athletes who were truly only there to take part were inspiring; I particularly remember the Niger rower at Eton Dorney who was clearly suffering as he came home several minutes behind the rest of the field only to receive a huge roar from the crowd... and a second one several minutes later when it was announced that due to a disqualification, he'd not come last!

Organisation for the most part was absolutely excellent; the only major negative was the ticketing process throughout but the demand was always going to make that tricky. Otherwise, the complaints as a spectator were niggling; the odd strange contraflow through a venue or station even during quiet periods perhaps. Perhaps the catering could have been better; there were lots of outlets and a decent range of food styles and prices for a 'sport' environment but the staffing/training could have been better. The longest queues at any venue were always at the catering outlets and it seemed to be mainly driven by inefficiencies rather than sheer volume. Not being able to buy small bottles of bubbles was another negative... they had small wine bottles, bubbles would have been a lovely touch. Being able to buy big bottles of wine was a plus though for long sessions or bigger groups.

Organisational bits that really stood out?

The security; it was fast, it was friendly and didn't feel overly regimented. I found myself in a queue just once; on the final evening of athletics. It hadn't ground to a halt, just a slow walk but the army were already opening a couple of additional scanners and it was gone in no time. Really well done considering the mammoth task.

The loos! I know, ridiculously mundane but, as a woman, I can't tell you how many hours of my life I have spent waiting to go to the loo in public - at stadiums, in shops, at the theatre. I went to multiple rehearsals at the Stadium, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and 13 events across venues. I NEVER had to wait for a cubicle. That is downright miraculous!

The Park; it is truly beautiful. I was lucky enough to spend quite a bit of time in there and it never lost its ability to make me smile. The landscaping is fabulous and when it re-opens, I am looking forward to taking a picnic and reliving some of the memories.

The volunteers; some of the security bods were also in Gamesmakers outfits and the difference was chalk and cheese. The volunteers were truly 'can do' people who used their brains to work out 'grey areas' and act appropriately. They were always ready with a smile to give directions or take a photo.

My overall verdict; we got a hell of a lot right and not very much wrong.

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The loos! I know, ridiculously mundane but, as a woman, I can't tell you how many hours of my life I have spent waiting to go to the loo in public - at stadiums, in shops, at the theatre. I went to multiple rehearsals at the Stadium, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and 13 events across venues. I NEVER had to wait for a cubicle. That is downright miraculous!

Oh I'm with you here. They are clean and I too never had to wait.

Any if they do seem busy, you can go round the back and there is a whole load more that people don't realise are there.

There should be a statue for whoever organised the toilets.

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The crowds at the venues were loud and encouraging to all. I didn't hear booing of any competitors (even those directly against a Brit); the only booing I heard at venues was to do with those who didn't carry on a Mexican wave. Unfortunately, some of those moments came during 'play' which I hate as a discourtesy to the players. That phenomenom was largely tied to the hockey arena; most other venues managed to only 'wave' during breaks in play.

I was going to stop you after the sentence I've highlighted in red and say "BUT I WAS TRYING TO WATCH THE HOCKEY!!!"

I'm glad I read the rest of that paragraph! I didn't get booed for not doing a Mexican wave during play, but it did annoy me that one was going on, and I WASN'T going to be a part of it! But you're right, it was only the hockey this happened at.

Hurumpph.

Edited by RobH

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There should be a statue for whoever organised the toilets.

Definitely! I wonder if we could start a petition to have a permanent loo block in his/her name in the legacy park! Every time I've met an ODA accredited person, I've asked if they've had anything to do with the loos. I will shake that person by the hand one day and campaign for their inclusion in every major public infrastructure project in the future!

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Like others I also don't want to become victim to biggest dick syndrome in stating that these were the best olympics ever, but let's just say they rank very high with all the other contenders.

The venues, staging, the crowds that flocked to them, unprecedented home country success and the volunteers all contributed in making this an unforgettable and highly successful Olympic Games.

I was a indifferent with some of the musical acts on last nights closing ceremony but hey we all have different musical tastes. I thought the choir singing imagine with John Lennon's face being built up on stage was a highlight.

Roll on the Paralympics.

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The Opening Ceremony...no comment

The Cauldron, cool...its treatment, poor.

THE GAMES! UP THERE WITH THE BEST IN MY LIFETIME!

The Closing Ceremony...Lost For Words!!! - BEST EVER!

Overall LONDON is now my most favourite Olympics pushing Barcelona into second after twenty years at the top of my favorites list.

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I think I can go to London next week. Can you restage it all over again please??? :lol:

I wish they could, and the park will be close for Paralympic changes.

But if you are in the area, I've heard there is a viewing area in the John Lewis store at the Westfield Shopping Centre.

(And that's 'centre' not 'center' if you're using sat nav ;) )

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I think the final verdict on the London Games will not be known for many years. London certainly did not stage the grandest Games in history, but the longterm impact of these Games could be just as significant as Los Angeles, if not moreso. Ultimately, I believe that future host cities will be looking to London as the new model for a cost-effective, sustainable Games. Unlike Sydney, Athens, and Beijing, London is not leaving behind massive white elephants that will sit unused and bleed money for years to come. London's use of existing venues, temporary venues, and venues that can be reduced in size after the Games surely will impact the blueprints of future host cities. Just as Los Angeles proved that a city can make a profit on the Games and thus revitalized the interest for hosting the Games in cities around the world, London may very well have provided a cost-effective model that will give smaller countries hope that they could host the Olympics in the future.

The other important legacy from London, in my opinion, will be the renewal of interest in the Olympics amongst youth. For over a decade, the IOC has been lamenting the lack of interest from youth in Olympic sports. London's understanding and embracing of social media to engage young people around the world in the Games will pay dividends for the Olympic Movement for decades to come.

London was never going to match the overwhelming scale of Beijing or the historic setting of Athens, but I do believe that London has provided a realistic model that will impact future hosts for decades to come.

I agree that the legacy planning of these olympics will probably be one of the standout successes of these games and probably the most unique knowledge transfer passed on from LOCOG (operationally there will also be contributions but alot of that will be an evolution of the SOCOG/IOC model that has been very dominant in the past 12 years and has matured drastically with each olympics since).

I agree London will signal a shift towards a better more sustainable era in Olympic planning, but I also feel that while it may be argued it is too late for Athens and Beijing to save their legacy planning, I am not so sure. Sydney's legacy planning for some elements worked well from the days directly after the paralympics closing ceremony (Aquatic Centre, Showgrounds and Olympic Village), but the legacy planning was shortsighted..

For the next five years Sydney Olympic Park for the most part, became a gigantic white elephant, but to their credit, SOPA and NSW Government stopped and re-assessed in 2005, developed a new masterplan and have really turned the legacy story of Sydney 2000 around... The park these days is busier than it has ever been, the baseball stadium has been renovated into an Aussie Rules arena and indoor arena has become one of the busiest concert arenas in the world.. No mean feat for a precinct 20+ km from downtown Sydney.

The point here being, excluding the venues in Athens/Beijing that have fallen to ruin/disrepair*, I believe there is still time for both these cities to turn some of their legacy stories around, especially beijing as it is approaching that five year mark and the conclusion of another summer olympics as a catalyst for action. Many of the venues on the olympic green could still be reworked into a happy life much like the Watercube has seen.

Back to London's excellent successes in this area, I only hope Rio, in its desire to impress the world follows the London model rather than Beijing's.

-----------------------------------------

* which never happened in sydney and why I have always felt pooling Sydney's legacy story with athens/beijing has been a bit unfair.

Edited by Juso

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It had passion, gile, heart and soul. elements in the last 100 years at the Summer games have had but not all at the same time. London was special trully special, I went to a few events the warmth from the minute you arrived to the minuite you left the games makers, the organisation, even the rail networks running well ( a rare event in the uk ) and the constant chit chat about the games in Sainsburys or tesco's was brilliant.

I do not want to undermine your excitement and pride over the past 16 days and the amazing experience no doubt these excellent and quite possibly 'best ever' Olympics have afforded (I wish I could have been there in person).

But the exact sentiments/conclusions you have made in the quote above I think could, and likely have, been said by many others at many Olympic Games. That is the magic of the Olympics.

An Olympic Games as a spectator transcends any experience you could have at a major event (even the world cup in my opinion, though germany came close, and Brazil might do it). And doing so at your home olympics doubly so.

I think many of the Olympics in recent memory, especially Barcelona and Vancouver, have had the magical feeling you describe, I know that the Olympics I was lucky enough to attend in person most certainly did, stirring the emotions in me (and many on this forum) similar to those that you feel right now.

The best Olympics go further and translate these emotions through the broadcast to the people around the world, I feel in that respect, London has triumphed, you have presented to the world two magical weeks, showing our world as it should be and it was wonderful.

Congratulations and welcome to the forum!

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Back to London's excellent successes in this area, I only hope Rio, in its desire to impress the world follows the London model rather than Beijing's.

I don't think Rio will have many white elephants after the Games. Many of the Rio venues are already existing and were built for or before the 2007 Pan-Am Games, including the track & field stadium. I believe Rio is building even fewer new venues than London, and probably the fewest new venues since Los Angeles.

Thanks for the info on Sydney's Olympic Park. My friend visited there about 6 years ago and said that it was mostly a ghost town. I'm happy to hear that the venues are getting more use today.

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Unfortunately Sydney Olympic Park, like all of these olympic parks is designed for traffic flows of 500,000 + people, they feel empty comparatively.

The Aquatic Centre was always popular as it had a water park designed into it from the start, and was popular 5 years before the olympics and still popular today. The showground and stadiums are used more for big events and make the park very busy, but do not happen every day. I have certainly been there many times in the past 12 years and seen what your friend described.

One of the mistakes (well arguably it worked well for the games) the olympic village was seperated by Parkland some 500 1000 metres from the venues/park. This was for security/logistical reasons and gave athletes great proximity but also privacy. London corrected this with its village. A result of this placing meant that future residents of the village have their own town centre in the village suburb and did not have to rely on restauraunts cafes in the park itself. Though many used it for recreation, bike riding swimming, tennis and archery etc. The new masterplan focused on creating more high density residential and commercial within the park itself and as a result there is a workforce of over 30,000 people in the commercial low rise offices of the big companies that have invested in the park. This with the new residents is making the area more vibrant outside of major events.

As park itself though I recommend all olympic fans to visit, especially hire a mountain bike and take on the many trails in Parkland and around venues.

Back to your comments Barcelona, there is even talk of moving the temporary basketball arena from london to Rio after it is used in Glasgow for the commonwealth games. I think this would be a great idea to use a few temporary multipurpose venues that become reusable every games. If every games contributes one, we will have a few after a few olympics (not the main venues of course but would work well for many of the smaller venue sports).

I think london's inclusion of major shopping centre/mall in the area will help to achieve high use of the park. One thing I always though would have been a good idea for future olympic parks would have been to design it with a legacy overlay as a permanent massive theme park (part of sydney is used for the annual royal easter show) as the landscaping and public traffic flow design is suited for such a park. tickets to Major events in the actual venues would include access to the park aswell....

Edited by Juso

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So after I've had some time to reflect...

What a very fantastic games these were. Definitely the best of the last three summer games. I have a number of friends in London and I wish I was there in person to celebrate with them, but unfortunately the bad economic times have held-up my life a bit and was not able to attend (hmm, wonder if I can save up enough for Rio? [is someone gives me a chance at better work, that's in my field])

Here are my pros:

The sporting milestones/highlights/records set, i.e. Phelps and Bolt as well as others like Oscar Pistorius. I've definitely been enlightened and inspired by these guys. We'll probably never see in our lifetimes someone surpass the achievements these guys did, and this is what made these games so special. B)

The ceremonies: both were great. First Kenneth Branagh marching around with his stogie and top hat, then finished by his Harry Potter co-star Timothy Spall as Churchill. And how about Mel B's catsuit? Meeow! Did those Spice Girls look great! They need to do reunions more often. :P

The mood: embraced as Vancouver's was. And that was good to see.

Sustainability: using existing venues, or finally using temporary ones (Basketball)

The cauldron: great idea with the petals, but...

And here are my cons:

The cauldron: it was like it went AWOL. it really was missing from those broadcasts for the first week. Should've been up high somewhere

The mascots: walking prophylactics, what can I say?

The logo: uninspired like Sochi's. Could've been done much better.

Promotion in Canada: It was sad to see no promotional products anywhere here in Canada for this instalment of the summer games. In the past, either Petro Canada, or McDonald's or other sponsors would offer a hat or drinking glass (I got all five mascot glasses for Beijing from McDonald's) or something with the games logo on it. Not this year. HBC, being the uniform supplier for Team Canada didn't even have any pins like they did for Beijing and Torino. I really don't know why it was going unpromoted here in Canada.

But those were minor gripes. These games were awesome! Once again, very well done London. These truly were a happy and glorius games. B)

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Speaking of mascots, the one that ran towards Bolt after he won the 100M made me laugh out loud. There was something so ridiculous about his running! Hilarious.

Edited by Michelle

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I have to say that I have just experienced one of the most amazing fortnights of my life.

I won't address every critique I have read on here but I will say that many of them show a lack of understanding of the culture, history and current situation in the UK.

We have seen a city and country that in recent years has been so often divided come together.

We have seen a city scarred by the experience of riots and looting and an ever-growing gap between rich and poor where people hardly acknowledge each other's humanity for much of the time (whether fighting for space in the tube or writing each other off as the feral poor or uncaring rich) come together in a warm and genuine spirit of excitement.

We have seen an outpouring of enthusiasm and passion from a people who rarely show their feelings, rarely truely let go and be simply joyful. You might say that happens at all Games but given the usual unwritten rules of British and Londoners behaviour, it really was amazing.

We have ripped the flag from the hands of extremists and shouted out "this is ours!" We have celebrated our nation and looked at ourselves seeing a country at peace with itself, whether back or white, muslim, christian or secular, straight or gay. At last we have a civic national pride that is inclusive of all.

And I was there!

Some months ago I was ambivalent about the British side of my heritage, grumpy with the government, alienated and depressed. But I have had the most marvelous experience of falling in love with London again, of finding my place here and embracing my Britishness in a way I haven't since the days of Cool Britannia and the bright optimism of Labour's first months in office.

The overwhelming message I am hearing from the world is that the London Olympics were close to perfect, gracious, knowlegeable and enthusiastic crowds from the host country, excellent facilities which focussed on the athletes and the smooth running of the Games rather than making grandiose statements and a spirit of fair play and gentleness.

Whilst I won't Beijing bash for the sake of it, many, mnay aspects of our Games did contrast directly with Beijing and I think that is a good thing and why many have said that in difficult times the London Olympics reinvigourated the Olympics.

The volunteers were simply amazing, wonderful ambassadors for London and the security was thorough without being overbearing and always good humoured.

The ceremonies were wonderful. Sure, I would have changed a couple of things but I loved the mix of camp, eccentricity, history, modern life and of course our contribution to arts and culture where I do think we punch seriously above our weight. And they had a strong sense of social justice and sustainablity and I hope the world - and indeed our own government - takes note. 'Freedom' 'This is for everyone'. Were they too British? Of course not. Was Lillehammer too Norwegian? Sydney too Australian?

To those who say the locations weren't as impressive as Sydney or Athens, Buckingham Palace, Horse Guards, Greenwhich, Wimbledon, all stunning, iconic and unique venues which positively sparkled.

I feel enormously proud and never thought it would go so well. All I can say is a huge thank you to all involved, I will never forget this wonderful, magical experience.

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London was simply amazing. What a high for 17 days. So many positives that it would take a while to post, so I will just post a couple of criticisms first.

The Olympic flame has to be able to be seen by people in the Olympic Park. I know this has not been the case for all summer games, but it has been for the last few. In my opinion it is the symbol of the Olympics. And when people are paying to get into the OP and not everyone being able to get a ticket to the athletics, it takes a little something away if you cannot see the flame with your own eyes.

I might be the only person that attended the games that had this feeling, but here it is. I felt there was almost a scripted or choreographed way in which the organisers went about ensuring there were World Records at events (especially athletics, swimming and track cycling). At all 3 of those venues the announcers would constantly go on about records being set or broken, whether it be a WR, OR, NR, SB, PB or all time UK record. And we heard a lot about it being a super fast track or pool with technology designed to create records. For me personally the Olympics is about the ultimate glory, a gold medal. Not so much time records. This might seem like a strange negative to most here, but it was just the feeling I had in London, of forcing records.

Anyway they are just 2 small criticisms of London.

Overall they were brilliantly run, extremely well attended with enthusiastic crowds, had excellent athletic performances and just had a great feel about them for the entire 2 weeks.

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The cauldron: great idea with the petals, but...

The cauldron: it was like it went AWOL. it really was missing from those broadcasts for the first week. Should've been up high somewhere

During the opening ceremony I thought that the LOCOG came up with the most brilliant and wildest idea: a mobile cauldron (it was obvious it wouldn't remain in the center of the Olympic Stadium after the ceremony). Didn’t really think about the method of transporting it to different outdoor venues, but the novelty of that “the cauldron that can move” idea got me excited.

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dscn0221.jpg

+++ The Opening Ceremony; The "And I Will Kiss" part was outstanding and I really liked the concept of the couldron.

+++ Horse Guards Parade; What a venue!

+++ The volunteers

+++ This moment:

"Three seconds left in the game. France is up by 2. They have 2 free throws to win the game. Watch what happens. Most epic game ever!"

++ The Copperbox; amazing atmosphere!

++ Casa Brasil

++ Olympic Park; I liked the landscape and gardening

++ The architecture of London 2012

++ Football semifinal USA-Canada (women) at Old Trafford. Winning goal in the 123rd minute (4-3)

+ Security, longest queue for the Olympic Park was only 10 minutes!

+ Time Trial at Hampton Court Palace

+ Underground; haven't experienced any problems or long queues

+ House of Switzerland / Imagination Denmark / Africa Village

+ Coca Cola / Panasonic / BMW pavilion

+ Watching the sunset on top of the ArcelorMittal Orbit

+ Meeting people from all over the world

+ Projections on Houses of Parliament

- Russia/Sochi.Park

- BP / Acer pavilion

These were the first Olympic Games I've actually visited so I can't compare them to previous Games. But I had a great time and memories that I will never forget! I can't wait to go back for the Paralympics!

A selection of my photos: http://bit.ly/S2Ms4l

(now I've got some reading to do ; ) )

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Great Games. The only major detractor was the Look--the venues that got blue were lucky; the ones that got pink were not.

Unlike Beijing, where a totalitarian government could simply MAKE people go/do as they saw fit, London had to make the Games work in a huge DEMOCRATIC metropolis. Using some infrastructure that's over 100 years old.

The English are known for being staid, stalwart and a bit crabby/pissy (I'm married to one and divorced from another; both great men I should add). The ways in which LOCOG got most of Britain behind the Games--and the crowds onsite so animated and fiery and happy and proud--is an achievement in and of itself.

Biggest and best DEMOCRATIC OSG ever. Sydney and Barcelona were also awesome, but those are small cities compared to London. I look forward to what Rio and Istanbul do next :)

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The English are known for being staid, stalwart and a bit crabby/pissy (I'm married to one and divorced from another; both great men I should add). The ways in which LOCOG got most of Britain behind the Games--and the crowds onsite so animated and fiery and happy and proud--is an achievement in and of itself.

That, I must say, was absolutely no surprise for me. If you ever watched Wimbledon or an English football match before, you knew already that the British are very passionate and enthusiastic about sports, also as a stadium audience.

But I suppose that those "staid, stalwart and crabby" clichés are the very same reason why everyone was so surprised that the Germans created such a good atmosphere at the 2006 World Cup. OK, I was surprised myself how friendly we can be and how friendly we are perceived by the outside world (;)) but I was absolutely not surprised how enthusiastically they behaved in the stadia.

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The English are known for being staid, stalwart and a bit crabby/pissy

Lol..that's because we usually don't have much to smile about and we love to moan and complain!

(I'm married to one and divorced from another; both great men I should add). The ways in which LOCOG got most of Britain behind the Games--and the crowds onsite so animated and fiery and happy and proud--is an achievement in and of itself.

But give us an excuse to party and boy will we party! ;)

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At the end of the day, you can't really "make" spectators as excited as London's were. That's something that comes naturally and is dictated by culture. It wasn't an achievement on LOCOG's part, just like the fact that spectator's weren't as excited in Beijing wasn't a failure on BOCOG's part.

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The most incredible games..ever. But then, hard to compare, because it's the first games I attended, so I'm biased.

Highlights.

The friendliness of the volunteers...excitement, happy faces, and that incredibly awesome British accent. Those pink foam hands pointing the way...

The beauty of the stadium...I was just awestruck every time I looked at it.

Opening and Closing. Too much to say...but I felt like I was in a dreamland. I absolutely loved history and music in the opening and the London Skyline and music of the closing...as well as hearing the LSO both times!!!

Gymnastics events / Swimming events / Greenwich Park Equestrian /

What I didn't like...

NOTHING!!! Oh...I guess I could say...the cost of going...LOL

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At the end of the day, you can't really "make" spectators as excited as London's were. That's something that comes naturally and is dictated by culture. It wasn't an achievement on LOCOG's part, just like the fact that spectator's weren't as excited in Beijing wasn't a failure on BOCOG's part.

I'm surprised, though, that the Beijing people now get constantly tagged as "little-excited audience". I remember that they cheered very loudly (unusually loudly for an Asian audience, I must say) during the Games, also at the opening ceremony when they welcomed the different nations.

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