No more sand in face of Dockers
No more sand in face of Dockers

Juan Antonio Samaranch started it 20 years ago and since then every Olympics host city has sought the title.

And when Samaranch declared Sydney 2000 was the “best Games ever” it was more to do with how Australia restored quality to the five-ringed sporting extravaganza after the debacles experienced at the “Coca-Cola” event held in Atlanta four years earlier.

While Samaranch has passed, his successor as International Olympics Committee boss, Jacques Rogge, hasn’t been keen to use the term.

Indeed, it is hard to compare Games. And on what basis do you judge them? Are they good because of the performances of the athletes?

London 2012 has provided wonderful sporting moments. The biggest names in their games, Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, the USA basketball team et al, have all produced their magic here over the past 17 days.

But for those attending the Games the key issue is being able to do what you have to do. That means getting to events, having good seats, ensuring transport runs on time and feeling the atmosphere than can only be generated by a program this size.

If ticking those boxes means a host city can claim to run a smooth Games then give London the gold medal.

The concern for the IOC was how it could drop such a mammoth operation into a city that is already one of the busiest on the planet.

Many of the venues, and almost all of the back-of-house operations, are temporary but still workable at the Games.

The high-speed Javelin train never missed a beat ferrying hundreds of spectators, media and athletes from London central to the Olympic Park in six minutes.

And the security, backed by a police presence that at least gave visitors a sense of safety, ensured there were no outside hiccups.

However, the key to any Games rests on one person – the volunteer.

There were no whingeing Poms in the purple and grey uniforms as they steered lost visitors in the right direction.

They guaranteed media had up to date results and bussed fans all over the throbbing metropolis.

If the problems are few then the Olympics can be deemed a success.

To use the term “best Games ever” might be risky but there is no doubt London can be proud for putting on the greatest show on earth.

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