...well, 4 days later and I still think it was great! The tv has not been on as much since I was a student; and I'm now suffering slightly from withdrawal symptoms (EastEnders doesn't quite fill the gap; and Big Brother is of no interest). Even Twitter seems to have gone quiet in comparison to a few days ago...
Congratulations London 2012 - what a fantastic 16 days!
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole Olympic experience - despite not having tickets to any of the high- or even medium-profile events. The reason for my enjoying it so much this year was certainly due to the fabulous successes of team GB! I don't think that the 10pm update and medals 'gong' from Big Ben would have held much interest had it not been for the amazing athletes' successes. And there's no fun in cheering if you're second-to-last in all the events...
Not only was I truly inspired by the teams' efforts, but the whole family was shouting for Britain to win (quite literally). And I hope we don't have to wait another 104 years before we beat the records set in 2012.
From the moment that the Olympic torch procession reached Glasgow and the surrounding areas it was - as with the rest of Britain - very well received. Children, families and people of all ages, including myself, lined the streets to see the flame and cheer-on the torch bearers. There was definitely a buzz from then to the fabulous opening ceremony, and from that high on to a slightly disappointing closing event.
A well managed Olympic Games
From a project management perspective, it would appear that all-round, the initiation, events, build-up and opening and closing ceremonies were very well organised and executed. The timings seemed spot-on for delivery of venues and logistics; and the budget (did you notice it was in a range: true professionalism ) kept on track - even if it did err to the higher end of the forecast. And with the security contingencies that were put in place, all athletes, attendees and VIPs were kept safe; and they even managed to keep Boris out of harms' way...
Trackside, during the ceremonies and events the professional organisation of the games was apparent. Considering the 10,000-odd athletes, the opening/closing timings and the events themselves were kept on-track (excuse the pun) throughout. There must have been a very effective communications plan and a clear mechanism for conveying that to staff, volunteers and athletes to make it all run so smoothly. Even the sponsorship-seat debacle was handled well.
For spectators and athletes alike, anyone I know that did attend the Olympic events said what a good atmosphere there was and how nice it was to see so many families and young people having access to the games, and their interest in all sports taken to another level.
And then there's the 'games makers' - an Americanism that is truly deserved - whose help and friendliness was apparently unparalleled. Their voluntary contribution really helped make the games such a success for everyone to enjoy.
Those involved in the management, logistics and organisation did a 'sterling' job!
Inspiring a new generations of Olympians
From 26 sports and 302 events, GB achieved 65 medals - 29 gold - across 19 sports. Ranking 3rd in the medal table behind two of the most populous and powerful nations on the planet is not bad at all. And with 12 Scots contributing to that total - winning medals in tennis, cycling, sailing, swimming, equestrian, rowing, hockey, canoeing and gymnastics - it proved in some way that we do not all eat deep-fried Mars Bars for breakfast... It definitely was "Faster, Higher, Stronger" as far as the UK was concerned.
Talking of food: what an array of athletes in all shapes, sizes and specialities there was... For the first time, I truly appreciated the breadth of events and talents on display. Previous Olympics I was maybe too young or busy working overseas to truly 'join in' the events. However this time I was hooked.
Whether you like dancing, squatting, pedalling, swimming, running, jumping, kicking, sailing, punching, ball games, lifting, throwing, hands-on combat or pistols/swords at dawn - there was something to inspire everyone. It's amazing what an expert predictor and judge you can become in 2 - nevermind 16 - days!
The high-profile personalities - with definite help from Bolt, Farah and Ennis - helped give an added dimension to the games in terms of personality and personal journey. Not to mention the fact that women were represented in every event.
London 2012 - involving Women, Education and the Arts
I was proud to be able to discuss the achievements and talents of the women participating with my young family, and encourage them that they can achieve whatever they set their mind to. It really opened their eyes to sports that they might not otherwise have come into contact with, and helped me encourage a can-do attitude. Anything can be achieved - regardless of gender - with hard work, the right support and determination.
Inspiration also took the form of the Arts. Danny Boyle's opening ceremony, "Isles of Wonder", was fabulous. The music, choreography, lighting, pyrotechnics and visual story that was offered was a real spectacle. There was no way the closing ceremony could ever compete.
And in addition, it must surely be a good resource for teachers in history, modern studies and other subjects? If that doesn't capture the next generation's interest, I don't know what will. When watched on repeat with my kids, they asked 'why is this happening', 'why is that happening', 'what's happening now' over an over.
Having started with the nice touch of up-and-coming athletes lighting the Olympic cauldron, I believe that London 2012 provides a perfect platform and opportunity to inspire young Britons.
Paralympics 2012, Glasgow 2014, Russia 2014 and Brazil 2016
I've got the London 2012 Paralympics schedule out - 29th August to 9th September; and am ready to apply for tickets to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014.
I wonder if I can afford flights to Russia for the Winter Olympics or if I should try to save up for the carnival party that will surely take place in Rio de Janiero for the 2016 Summer Olympics? No pressure team GB to keep up the winning streak...
Maybe the first step should be for me to go on a run: I've got 21 miles to prepare for this coming year after all!