I'm pretty sure that we're all in agreement on how well we hosted the 2012 Olympic games. From the opening ceremony, to the individual sporting events, the friendliness and helpfulness of the volunteers, to the closing ceremony, heck even the weather held off in the main! But how does the spectacle translate into positive PR for Britain?
I sat down to watch the opening ceremony, anxious about what kind of show Danny Boyle (accomplished film director but newbie events director) would put on for us. But that anxiety was put to bed right at the start. I was transfixed, and am now of the belief that Mr Boyle should be crowned Sir Danny. It was clever and funny, maybe a tad too many 'in' jokes especially for us Brits, but overall it portrayed our national character accurately.
Our athletes were similarly fabulous, wining the biggest medal haul since 1908. Apparently their success was down to absolute attention to detail. The minutiae of their technique, holistic health, nutrition, and psychology were examined, meaning they truly were at the top of their game.
And isn't that what us Brits are known for? Our attention to detail. (Hence why we can actually put on a good show – think OTT pomp and ceremony of royal affairs).
Yes, G4S's security staff cock-up was not great, neither were the kind words of Mitt Romney on us not being ready, and the early empty seats debacle, but the staffing issue was rectified, the politician's doubts were unfounded, and the empty seats were quickly filled.
On the whole, the games have promoted Britain to the world as organised, funny quirky, friendly, efficient, good sports, and with a rich culture and history, as opposed to a bunch of down in the dumps, financially stretched, self-deprecating misery guts. Although the games are over, (well, the main ones) the benefits are yet to be fully realised with the tourism statistics yet to be released.
Internally, the games have increased national pride and made us realise we can be winners. And there's still excitement waiting for the Paralympics to begin. Channel Four have rightly promoted the athletes as superhuman rather than disabled, and the billboard ads stating ‘Thanks for the warm up” are pure genius.
Our natural self-deprecating nature means deep down, many people were secretly hoping for a bit of a farce (although Boris Johnson tried his best for us with his wire-dangling antics and dad dancing at the closing ceremony). But what the games has taught us is that winning and celebrating does feel better than botching up and sniggering about it. What is has taught the world is that Britain can pull it out of the bag and put on a first class, world class global show.