Roger Black: Historic feats and helping hands made this the best Games of all

The Expert View: People say Sydney was the best, but in London we have beaten that

If anyone had asked me the day before the opening ceremony to write a script for the best Games possible, I think what I would have written would have been what we have seen unfold over these last two weeks.

To have a great Games I think a lot of things had to happen. We had to have a fantastic opening ceremony, which had to reflect us as a nation and to be pretty much universally applauded. I think that happened. It was a great opening ceremony – no doubt.

We obviously needed to see sport of the highest level. Well that's a given at the Olympics.

But we needed two other things. From a British perspective, we needed Team GB to do well – to really grab the nation and to inspire the next generation. And that has happened. The list of stories and medallists is too long to highlight them individually.

But the other thing you need from a great Olympic Games is for people to be able to look back – not just from the British perspective, but from a global viewpoint – and remember that as the Games when something memorable happened. And I think this has happened in these Olympic Games.

Michael Phelps, crucially, became the most decorated Olympian of all time. And secondly Usain Bolt was able to achieve the double sprint double. He became the only man to retain the Olympic 100m and 200m titles.

That's history. So all the boxes were ticked.

For those of us involved in athletics, David Rudisha's world 800m record is something we will remember. I'm not sure everyone will always remember that, but they'll remember Usain Bolt. You need a Games to be memorable for more than just people winning Olympic medals. You need history – and it was made by Phelps and Bolt.

The other things we should all be incredibly proud of are the way the crowds have been, the helpers, the atmosphere at every venue, the way the transport has operated – just the general feel of the British public around these Olympic Games.

Anyone who has been here will have experienced these throngs of volunteers who just want to help and make your experience as enjoyable as possible. None of them is being paid, but they've made a real difference.

All these things played their part in making it a great Olympic Games. And the weather smiled on us: not amazing, but not terrible either.

When we look back, people will ask: "Was this the greatest Olympics?" Well, put it this way, we could not have asked for one better. I think most people think Sydney was the best Games. But, to me, London beats Sydney.

The real test of London 2012 will be in a few years because I really hope and believe that the Olympic Park can stay alive. The real success of London just might be that its legacy lives for a very long time.

That's the challenge now facing us as a nation. That ranges from more sport in schools all the way through to keeping the Olympic stadium and that whole area of Stratford alive, keeping the legacy going.

I think we have to be creative and find ways to redefine what legacy really means. It means so much in so many different areas. There is an infrastructure legacy and there is the legacy of our children. My six-year-old boys have experienced an Olympic Games in their own country. That experience could influence a generation forever.

I hope that we look back on 2012 and it's not just the memories of Bolt, Phelps, Chris Hoy, Jess Ennis and Mo Farah and all those things that come to mind.

I hope we look back with huge pride and say: this country hosted the best Olympic Games ever.

Roger Black is an ambassador for Scottish Widows, the official pensions and investments provider for the London 2012 Olympic Games. As part of the Lloyds Banking Group, Scottish Widows is proud to be an Official Provider of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Roger Black is an ambassador for Scottish Widows, the official pensions and investments provider for the London 2012 Olympic Games. As part of the Lloyds Banking Group, Scottish Widows is proud to be an Official Provider of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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