The view from abroad: The London 2012 Olympics were great… apart from the slums and that weird guy Boris


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The Independent Online

"This normally dour city, a place of weepy grey skies and chilly demeanour, has been transformed into an enclave of smiling Olympic volunteers, efficient transit systems and joyful crowds... And the favourite pre-Games activity of griping about the Olympics has been replaced by basking in the Olympics." Traci Watson, USA Today

"If you leave the premises of the Olympic Village, you get an impression that nothing is happening. Many people do not understand what the Olympic Games are. There is no feeling of jubilation there." Pole vault bronze medallist Yelena Isinbayeva on Russia's RBK TV

"Your performance hasn't been fault-free… But … even as I've taken my place in the Olympic Stadium, there's been a niggling sense that the best views are from my armchair. Dear BBC, you're even better than the real thing." Catherine Mayer, of Time magazine, writes a love letter to the BBC

"Increasingly, despite its tradition of impartiality, the BBC falls into vociferous nationalism. We can imagine the effect that this patriotic diarrhoea is having on the public." Marc Roche, Le Monde

"The living conditions for the 2012 Olympic workers have been described as 'prison-like slums'. Every 25 staff members must share one toilet." Iran's Press TV

"Public transport, after a disastrous postwar nationalisation followed by a catastrophic 1980s privatisation, is finally working… As one of their prime ministers once said … they've never had it so good." Doug Saunders, Globe and Mail, Canada

"You can never say it enough times, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson is a weird guy." Le Monde

"If you're not there yet, buy your tickets right away. Sure, you won't make it to the Olympics, but you can still make the most of this romantic megalopolis." Trud, a left-leaning Russian daily

"The week I had in London was enough for me to fall in love with the Brits. Before I arrived, I thought that they were arrogant, irritating and naive. I was right only in relation to naive and this also worked in my favour (helped me get better seats in the Games)." Columnist Ori Ozan in Israel's liberal daily Ha'aretz

"Londoners can't stop smiling. The sun has been a regular at most Games venues. Team GB has recorded a personal best, and equally delightful for the locals has been their famous foe Australia's unexpected slump." Indian Express

"The ongoing London Olympic Games have become a test of fitness for participants, including spectators, volunteers, the organisers and journalists, who have to walk long distances daily. Trekking and jogging long distances to catch trains, buses and meeting Games schedules are the order of the day as the loss of a minute could ruin one's plan." Vanguard, Lagos

"In an extremely un-British move…all of them expressed, with no irony at all, their hope that I have a good day." Sarah Lyall of The New York Times, of the volunteers

"London has transformed into an enormous village fair. You can't get on a bus or train without running into people dressed in flags." Liberation, France


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