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I'm not really looking at it as arguing, sorry you may be. I think you were so right about the dam breaking, I've held it in till now wondering if I'd feel differently. I have strong deep connections and feelings for London through my in-laws who are prominent citizens there. They owned Selfridges, have a wing of the Tate Britain named after the family, funded significant development of the London Zoo, etc etc etc stuff like that. I’ve said I love London, but these games were not London, and they did not live up to the brilliant of London. I blame LOCOG not London.

Those comments by Seb Coe about the cauldron not being for public viewing (or some such) were a significant NAIL in London 2012’s coffin for me. There was an odd elitist edge to the organization that felt cold, and all the small flaws and design issues were difficult to overlook after that. The aquatic center was such an early bloated disappointment which stereotypically was a clunker compared to its fantastical renderings. The erector set stadium and it’s drawn out wrap issue and legacy confusion, not to mention the ridiculous price for a temporary stadium. However, the Velodrome was a dream come true. The “looks” potential really seemed to collapse at some point in planning, not sure what all happened but the resulting “safe” graphics were underwhelming and under exploited from what I saw. That really was disappointing after waiting all those years to see what AMAZING things London would do after LOCOG provoked us with their controversial logo, we were told what was to come was going to be groundbreaking, then they went super safe. Perhaps the gloomy weather was a drain on everything too.

But it really isn't the many physical flaws that left me cold, it was that intangible thing I have felt from oher games. But of course this is all my opinion and I know some here even called it "the greatest games ever". As you said, to each his own.

We are so much on the same page.

I still love London. I just wasn't crazy about the Games. All the nuts and bolts were there, perhaps more than ever before, but the off ceremonies, off cauldron and cold, elitist tone dulled the luster for me.

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Interested what you think conveyed an "elitist" tone.

Mainly the bit about "the cauldron is not for the fans. It's a symbol, not a tourist attraction." blew my mind that the head of an organizing committee would talk that way.

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Wasn't enchanted with Coe's brush off of Michael Phelps' accomplishments either. For crying out loud, an athlete set the record for most Olylpuc medals ever at the Games you're hosting and instead of saying "Well done" you say "I wouldn't call him the best ever. There are a lot of other athletes that can make stronger claims."

I also didn't love the post-Olympics crowing of "London staged the best Games ever."

All the above felt "superior"-- in the pejorative sense.

Plus, my Italian friend who was there in person said the exact same thing about the tenor of the Games (prior to hearing my opinion).

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Mainly the bit about "the cauldron is not for the fans. It's a symbol, not a tourist attraction." blew my mind that the head of an organizing committee would talk that way.

I would agree with you on that - IMO the biggest mistake by LOCOG. A real pity as in my opinion, the cauldron was the most elegant and beautiful ever. But they should have realised that the cauldron is such a symbol of the games, that people really want to see it! Yes, a fail on cauldron placement.

Wasn't enchanted with Coe's brush off of Michael Phelps' accomplishments either. For crying out loud, an athlete set the record for most Olylpuc medals ever at the Games you're hosting and instead of saying "Well done" you say "I wouldn't call him the best ever. There are a lot of other athletes that can make stronger claims."

I also didn't love the post-Olympics crowing of "London staged the best Games ever."

All the above felt "superior"-- in the pejorative sense.

Plus, my Italian friend who was there in person said the exact same thing about the tenor of the Games (prior to hearing my opinion).

I can't address the Phelps issue - I never saw or heard it - too busy experiencing the Olympic city to pay too much attention to the wider coverage and news events of it.

As to crowing - here at least I can only think of one person who "crowed" (our old mate Mr Baa Baa). And I was very heartened to see his triumphalist schadenfreude embarrassed and annoyed his fellow countrymen and drew their disapproval. In the Brit media, of course, they're proud and amazed at how good a time they had and what they achieved, and want to celebrate it, but that's true of any host. "Best Ever Games" is a term that got thrown around a lot in my neck of the woods ever since 2000 (I usually try to be careful never to claim it myself, but, yeah, I think most of us Aussies are pretty proud of what we achieved too). On GBids I think it goes without saying the most aggressively defensive posts and dummy spits have tended to come from Americans defending Atlanta, Greeks defending Athens, Canadians defending Vancouver, Brazilians already defending Rio etc (I'm lucky, few people say much bad about Sydney - except the Greeks in 2004. But I have had arguments with Catalonians annoyed that anyone could have had the temerity to describe Sydney as better than Barcelona). We even had that maryjane (who I'm sure was a Chinese govt plant) taking anyone to task in 2008-2009 when they dared criticise any aspect of Beijing. It's understandable, and to be expected. In any case, the most dangerous, and mis-used words here on GBids is "best ever". So much of what is described as such is just so, so personal and subjective.

As to the "spirit" issue - well, I'm sure I'll never convince you, but now having been to three SOGs in person, I really find it hard not to over-praise just how joyful, uninhibited and sincere the British support and embrace of the games was. I was always sure they would, but, sh!t, I've really had to admit to myself that they may well have shaded my fellow Aussies and Sydneysiders in their embrace and spirit. If I was going to make a casual and flippant judgement on such an intangible aspect of spirit, based on TV coverage, I'd say that Athens came across to me as one of the most dispirited - few crowds during the early events, ill mannered booing at events like the gymnastics, extreme ultra-defensiveness over any perceived less-than-totally-enthusiastic comments on them. But, hey, I wasn't there, so can't really judge. I know you say they were much different on the ground than such comments paint, so I'll take your word on that one.

Actually, I will give this much - I'm bemused, too, by the continuing mantra that London "re-invented" the paralympics. LOL - I remember the same thing said here too in the aftermath of ours in 2000. I think in reality both editions were games for those locals who couldn't get tickets to the proper games. That said, Sydney and London also have in common, however, that back in 2000 Atlanta's Paras were also used as a cautionary tale of how NOT to organise a Paralympics.

Edited by Sir Rols

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I will take your word on the in-person crowd atmosphere in London. My statements are just based on my long-distance/tv/Internet perspective.

All I can say about Athens is that it was exceptionally warm and wonderful. Everyone was incredibly welcoming, friendly and helpful. I actually felt "at home" -- which totally shocked me.

There's been a decent amount of non-Gamesbids crowing about the London Games. Emails from Brits saying they thought they were the best thing since Cheerios, etc. Certainly not everyone, but enough to rub me the wrong way.

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It amazes me you think Coe brushed aside Phelps. He was asked sincerely if he thought he was the greatest Olympian ever and he said not in his opinion no. He said, certainly in the interviews I heard, that he was up there with the greatest, and how great he was to have at London 2012. Did the American media whip these comments into some kind of frenzy, because they barely made a ripple here? Coe is a man steeped in Olympic history, he will know who he considers the greatest. Is this the same Athensfan who continually bemoans Rogge for being too diplomatic and not saying what he really thinks when asked a question?

And as for crowing, get over yourself or shut up about how bloody brilliant Athens was, one or the other please!! We had four years of people arrogantly claiming London could never match Beijing, that it'd show itself up, and all we could say was "we'll have to see". Well, most would agree it held its own, and we're quite pleased about that. Yet we're supposed to forgoe a bit off boasting just to please your sensibilites. I don't want you to shut up about Athens really, I like reading your experience there, but at least give us the opportunity to do the same re: London. If that sometimes overflows into overgushing praise just let it go and stop acting like some puritan. As I said, you're not a lot different with Athens. I'll leave that one there I think because I don't want to get into an argument on this issue.

Sorry, but I can understand why some people didn't like the ceremonies, and I would agree with you and Rols about aspect of the cauldron's treatment. But when you're criticising a Games on such tiny margins (even taking into account Press Conferences with Coe, when I can't rememer any such interviews to judge past Games on) or making judgements about London alone on aspects which come with all Games (a bit of gloating) then I can't help but feel you're being unfair.

I never heard Beijing criticised on what London might do in four years or the fact it was sandwiched between the Home of the Games and the first Three-time host (horrible timing for China eh?!), I never heard any other host criticised because of some irrelevent press conferences, nor have i heard criticisms of past hosts based on emails from friends that'd rubbed people up the wrong way or about a bit of overzealous enthusiasm. Perhaps I should be pleased these are the things people are scrabbling for when critcising London, but it still feels like a level playing field would be nice.

Edited by RobH

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It was absolutely a brush off. When Coe was asked, he should've have simply dodged the question and said "We are honored Michael Phelps made history here in London, but we celebrate all athletic achievement and don't feel it is our place to rank sporting accomplishments. Most Olympians don't medal at all, but every one of them has an inspiring story of hard work and dedication that brought them to these Games."

That's totally different from telling everyone and their mother-in-law that they have a great shot at hosting the Games (which Rogge has done).

Let's also remember how Coe sneeringly forecasted the United States' third place medal finish behind China and Russia. Regarding Phelps, he wasn't just "answering a question honestly." He was taking a pot-shot. Fine. So be it. But he can't be surprised (nor should you) when Americans say it marred the tone of London.

I have NEVER claimed Athens was the "best ever." I have simply said I had a marvelous time there -- and I did. I have only attended LA and Athens -- so I would never attempt to rank the Games. Even if I were a frequent spectator I wouldn't rank the Games. I will say that Athens' Look and Ceremonies were my favorites, but that's just a matter of personal opinion.

I have said many times my impression of London's Games is based on tv and the Internet, plus several first-hand accounts from friends.

I've cited what I perceive as London's strengths several times. The fact that you bristle at any criticism does not really improve my impression.

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I think in reality both editions were games for those locals who couldn't get tickets to the proper games.

That pretty much accounts for the high attendance of recent Paralympics. It's basking in the afterglow of the Olympics at far cheaper prices. And alleviating one's conscience by bragging rights that you're supporting the less fortunate athletes...well, yeah, because tickets for the main event were really hard to get and very steep. And it really makes sense for organizers to play in the smaller venues because they're easier to fill; thus making the events like astounding successes!

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