Jeremy Hunt MP: London 2012 has been a magnificent success
Jeremy Hunt MP is Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Follow Jeremy on Twitter.
We can never be complacent with such a huge event, but it looks like London 2012 has been a magnificent success.
Not success that belongs to any one person, organisation or political party, but what happens when we come together as a country.
Here’s my take on how we’ve done:
Thanks to 70,000+ brilliant volunteers, we have knocked on the head the idea we are not a friendly country. The courteousness, helpfulness, enthusiasm and smiles from people of all ages and all backgrounds has truly made these Olympics. We are a volunteering nation - as enthusiasts for the Big Society have long argued - and now we have proved it.
At last count, Team GB had won 25 gold medals coming third in global rankings - and even winning medals in more sports than the USA. This is arguably an even better sporting year than 1966, the year both David Cameron and I were born. Our athletes have shown we can play to win and not just be a nation of good losers - we need to learn this lesson in our schools and in our country generally. We should not be aiming to be the best in Europe, we should aspire to be the best in the world. If our athletes can deliver this, why can't the country as a whole?
It’s a shame that there were some empty seats in accredited areas at the start of the Games, and future organisers should look at whether it is right to have non-ticketed areas at all. But let's not forget LOCOG sold more tickets for this Olympics than any Olympics in history - and the atmosphere has been brilliant in the venues as a result. And to host an event which around 10% of the entire population have been able to go and see in person (alongside around one quarter of the population seeing the Torch) is no mean feat. We are truly sport-mad.
We didn’t get off to a great start with the management problems at G4S, but the military and police stepped in with their trademark professionalism to ensure we had a safe and secure games. Once again we have realised we are lucky to have the finest uniformed services in the world.
Predictions that London would grind to a halt, or people would be queuing for hours at Heathrow, have failed to come true. Immigration staff at Heathrow in particular were brilliant. And well done to the tube network that had its busiest ever days and coped magnificently.
Most of all these Games have been made by the great British public. They have got behind the Games - and made the atmosphere so brilliant at every sports event. Team GB rightly got the biggest cheers - but I felt proud of the generous way our spectators treated visiting teams as well. The best possible example from the country that invented fair play.