Athens vindicated

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The Independent Online

The cynics were wrong. The Athens Olympics turned out to be every bit as exciting, as euphoric and as proficiently organised as the spoilsports said they would not be. Congratulations are due all round: to the Greeks who transformed their capital into an efficient and welcoming venue. To the participants, who - with a few glaring exceptions - competed in the true spirit of the Games. Above all to Britain's medal-winners, who exceeded the medal tally in Sydney and offered a new generation of athletes a galaxy of inspirational stars: step forward Kelly Holmes, Amir Khan, Matthew Pinsent, Bradley Wiggins. And if Britain can learn one lesson from Athens for its candidacy for 2012, it is that lowering expectations at the outset may not be such a bad tactic after all.

The cynics were wrong. The Athens Olympics turned out to be every bit as exciting, as euphoric and as proficiently organised as the spoilsports said they would not be. Congratulations are due all round: to the Greeks who transformed their capital into an efficient and welcoming venue. To the participants, who - with a few glaring exceptions - competed in the true spirit of the Games. Above all to Britain's medal-winners, who exceeded the medal tally in Sydney and offered a new generation of athletes a galaxy of inspirational stars: step forward Kelly Holmes, Amir Khan, Matthew Pinsent, Bradley Wiggins. And if Britain can learn one lesson from Athens for its candidacy for 2012, it is that lowering expectations at the outset may not be such a bad tactic after all.

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