Queen Elizabeth’s Grand daughter, Zara Philips, also won a medal for Team GB
London 2012 will be remembered as one of most riveting and best organized modern Olympic Games. Olawale Ajimotokan, who was in London, lists some of the reasons that were responsible for the success of the games
Efficient Rail System
Great Britain delivered on expectations as it provided an efficient rail transport system that tackled one of the biggest concerns associated with staging of games of such scope. At the Olympics, the London Underground and the Overground system rubbed off positively on the image of the country by providing a reliable transportation for conveying the athletes, officials, media, spectators and tourists to and from the venues.
The volume of commuters that travelled on the tube was beyond was the country projected for in any summer.
The network lines were overstretched to limits as some of the connections conducted 24 hours operation during the games.
The sheer volume of passengers at the train stations was so alarming that one would think that the network would break down. Save for an isolated failure on the Docklands Light Railway (DHL) and an instance where some passengers were stranded outside London Bridge station due to 'operating problems', the tube ran on schedule and to the delight of all. It was this efficiency that prompted one tourist from Brazil, Raul to joke that: “Even if the entire population of the world is brought to London, the tube would still come handy”.
The network was like a misery for first time visitors to the UK as it was not unusual to find them enquiring from the train station stewards on the route and platform to follow to connect their destinations.
The public support to the games was unprecedented and acknowledged as one of the reasons for the success of London 2012.
The interest reached a sustained pitch with the impressive outing of Team Great Britain.
British public are known to be passionate about sports. Just like they will attend English Premier League matches, Open Golf Championship and Wimbledon, they gave a carnival feel to the Olympics, purchasing tickets to be the venues and watching the live proceedings from big screens installed in the parks around the centres.
It was a whole lot of opportunities for Londoners to revel and enjoy live music and entertainment in some of London’s most iconic locations, including Tower Bridge, Hyde Park, Victoria Park and Trafalga Square.
No less was expected as it was the first Olympics to be held in London since 1948.
Team Great Britain
The Team Great Britain might have finished third on the overall medal pecking order, but for every observer they were the best ‘competing’ team at the games.
The final gold medal tally of 29 was the best finish by Britain in any Olympics and an improvement on the 19 gold medals flourish at Beijing 2008.
Strangely, Great Britain, which was derided and stood in a pitiable 21st position and without a gold medal after the first six days of the games, suddenly got in the mix with a run of gold medals.
“We are suddenly running on an electric ‘CAR’ summed up Aileen a volunteer in a stark reference to the acronym symbolizing the hosts’ early sustained gold medals in Cycling, Athletics and Rowing.
Boxing and Equestrian also added to the pool.
Team Britain produced some of the games’ standout individual performers including Mo Farah, Chris Hoy, Laura Trott, Jesicca Ennims, Bradley Wiggins and Charlotte Dujardin.
The members of the British royal family also provided the fulcrum upon which the success of London 2012 was built by taking part in the games and witnessing some of its spontaneous moments of happiness.
Queen Elizabeth became the newest ‘Bond Girl’ and parachuted her way into Olympic Stadium for an unforgettable entrance. But she was not the only Royal that offered support to the games.
The members of House of Windsor turned up at some of the venues to motivate the home team. For instance, Anne, the Princess Royal was at the Equestrian Team Event to present the silver medal to her daughter Zara Phillips. In the same mould, the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, his wife, Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge were both regular faces at cycling and canoe slalom.
William, who left after first week to return to his job as a search and rescue helicopter pilot in Wales, attended 13 events. Also Prince Harry attended a number of events at the games and watched his cousin Zara Phillips win an equestrian team silver medal for Team GB.
He also watched competitors in the cycling, rowing and beach volleyball competitions.
Their appearances coincided with some impressive British performances as well. Kate also supported the Team GB by wearing its gear almost daily in the last two weeks.
The organization of the games similarly got high marks on account of sound security that was ensured for the participants and tourists during the games.
A security firm, G4S, provided about 4,000 personnel while the army and police were also on hand to provide additional cover.
There were concerns that a terrorist attack during the games might take the shine off the game, prompting the Home Security to take precautionary action by installing surface-to-air missiles at a number of sites across the capital. The missiles were aimed to stave off the threat of a terror attack on venues
But the games were a success as through out the duration of the Olympics there were no security breaches in or around the venues.
A phlegmatic summer ensured that the conditions were suitable for the Olympics Games. The British weather can be erratic during this time of the year with heavy downpour and attending thunderstorm.
Save for occasional light showers, it was calm as there was no weather concern. With longer days enveloping the UK in July, visitors took advantage by spending more time catching the fun before darkness beckoned.