Boris Johnson 'relieved' at success of London 2012 Olympic Games

 

Boris Johnson expressed his “sadness” and “relief” that the London Olympics was over today as he claimed it had been “the greatest Games ever”.

The Mayor of London said he had felt a "momentary mad desire" to refuse to hand back the Olympic flag during last night's closing ceremony.

"If you were to say to me that we have just held the greatest games ever in Britain, I would say you are on the right track," he told a London press conference.

Asked whether he shared the melancholy of others at the end of the Games, he said: "It's certainly true I did feel a momentary mad desire last night not to give Jacques Rogge that flag. I almost yanked it back.

"But I suppose there are two emotions - one is obviously some sadness that it is all over, because it's been an amazing experience, but also a great relief because there is no doubt it has been a prodigious exertion by London and by Londoners."

Paying tribute to Lord Coe, chairman of the organising committee Locog, the Mayor said London had staged "the most extraordinary event we can remember in our lifetimes and which we will remember for the rest of our lives".

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "This has been two weeks when Britain didn't just surprise the world but surprised itself."

Mr Johnson said London was committed to ensuring a sporting legacy from the Olympics - and to providing thousands of jobs and homes.

Some 3,500 people have come forward to get involved with sport since the Games began, he said.

"There are a series of exciting global sporting competitions (coming to London) and it is in that context we want to be expanding very vigorously now the number of young people who take part, we want people of all ages to take part in sport."

Mr Johnson urged sports fans to snap up tickets for the forthcoming Paralympic Games, for which there was "massive demand" in the wake of the events of the past fortnight.

"The best way to make sure you have a chance to get to that park, share in the excitement of London 2012, is to get on the website when those Paralympic Games tickets become available," he said.

"If demand exceeds supply, we will make sure there are Paralympic Park tickets available as well."

Mr Johnson said the early indications were that London had already benefited economically from the Games and repeated hopes that the gains could ultimately reach £13 billion or more.

He said: "We welcomed huge numbers of visitors to our city, 300,000 international, 600,000 domestic, 5.5 million day-trippers, occupancy of hotels was 84%, double that of Beijing or Sydney.

"Restaurant spending, according to Visa, was up - it is patchy but spending is up 20% on the year, nightclub spending is up 24%, theatre ticket spending has increased by 114% last week alone to £5.3 million."

Mr Johnson said London's transport network defied the sceptics and held up to the surge in demand and praised dignitaries including IOC president Jacques Rogge and Prime Minister David Cameron for using public transport.

He said: "The Tube was up 30%, the DLR was up 100%, London Overground up 47%, the Emirates Air Line cable car had a record 31,964 on Saturday, the bike hire scheme broke all records by a mile, 46,000 people on a single day, I believe."

Mr Johnson said 3,000 business figures passed through City Hall during the Games and said 55 projects for London "have been identified and are being proceeded with".

The mayor said there were plans for 8,000 permanent jobs on the Olympic Park after the Games, and 8,000 new homes on top of the 2,800 in the Olympic Village.

"I think most people looking at the legacy benefits, looking at what London has achieved, looking at the image of this city and this country that has been projected around the world, and the benign economic effects, will think the money well spent," he said.

PA

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Plans to decriminalise non-payment of television licence fees would cost the BBC £500m according to estimates drawn up within the Corporation
people
News
people
Life & Style
The new low cost smartphone of Motorola, 'Motorola Moto G', is displayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 13, 2013. The smartphone, with dimensions 65.9mm W x 129.9mm H x 6.0 - 11.6mm D is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with quad-core 1,2 GHz CPU, a 4.5-inch display and Android Operating System 4.3 and a suggested price of $ 179 USD.
techData assessing smartphones has revealed tens of millions of phones are at risk of being harvested
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Pare as Megan Draper and Jon Hamm as the troubled, melancholy Don Draper
tvAnd six other questions we hope Mad Men series seven will answer
Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Online Advertising Account Executive , St Pauls , London

£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Advertising Account Executive - Online, Central London

£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Senior Infrastructure Consultant

£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...

Public Sector Audit - Bristol

£38000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have experience of ...

Day In a Page

Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

Politicians urged to find radical solution
Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

Ukraine crisis

How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

A history of the First World War in 100 moments
Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?