Amol Rajan: The evidence of how smashing Great Britain can be

FreeView from the editors at i

Share
Related Topics

We smashed it. Utterly, unrelentingly and almost unimprovably, we smashed it. Where I come from, to say you smashed it is to say you it did magnificently, brilliantly, with panache and skill and style – and then some. And who could argue that London 2012 answers to that description?

Let's start with some counter-factuals. History generally remains a remembrance of all the things that didn't happen, rather than contemplation of all the things that did. But it's a valuable exercise to think about what didn't happen over the past fortnight.

There wasn't a bomb. Fingers crossed, there won't be. Al-Qa'ida didn't blow up the Olympic Park, or the Velodrome, or Eton Dorney.

Think of the vast apparatus of state and military power that has gone into planning London's safety over the past few weeks. Think of their pride now.

The transport system didn't stop working. To a very great extent, the vast numbers of people flowing in and out were able to get punctual trains that promptly took them to and from destinations far away. Yes, there were tens of thousands of commuters, and yes it was busy; but there wasn't a crush.

We didn't flop in any single sport. In fact, we anti-flopped. We succeeded, thrived, excelled; we smashed it. We created new national heroes (Farah, Ennis, Trott, Gibbons, the Brownlees, the rowers, canoeists and so on); we enshrined established ones (Hoy, Pendleton, Ainslie and so on) and we laid the ground for future glories (Daley, to name just one).

We didn't bungle the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Danny Boyle's production at the start of the Games was one of the very great musical and theatrical performances of the modern age.

We showed the world a confident, comfortable country, proud of its heritage and prepared for its future. We did, it's true, build a few unattractive objects, such as the ArcelorMittal Orbital, which for all its capacity to improve on proximity is a highly forgettable monument where an architectural masterpiece ought to be. There were also a disgraceful number of empty seats and the biggest test of these games will be their lasting, and hard to measure, impact on the poorest people in our country, especially far away from London.

But it would take a curmudgeon to award anything less than 9/10 to London. Here was imperishable evidence that modern Britain is a place where awesome things happen and world-beaters live. And the Paralympics haven't even started!

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Ed Miliband's conference speech must show Labour has a head as well as a heart

Patrick Diamond
 

To hear the Yes campaigners, you’d think London was the most evil place on Earth

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam