Potter: Exhilarating end to the Games

An exhilarating last day at the Olympic Stadium provided the perfect setting for the finish of a wonderful Olympic Games. The Olympic Park was packed with visitors heading to most venues scheduled to play their respective medal rounds; expectation and excitement were abundant with many fans wearing their national flags proudly painted on their faces. Some had messages written on large cards, requesting to swap their tickets for other games in which their team was now scheduled to play.

It was generally fabulous to see so many families attending; confident that the security and all round friendliness was safe enough to bring any aged youngster. Even passing through the security check points was generally efficient and quick with the military friendly and courteous, wearing no sidearms! I only noticed a few discreetly positioned police officers bearing weapons.

As we entered the Stadium to take our seats, there was a great cheer as the evening's scheduled events were presented on the giant screen, listing the 100m relay final and the 5,000m final. Women's high-jump set the stage when we saw young Brigetta Barrett of the USA take silver and then Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad gold in the men's javelin. All British fans were then roaring on our champion at 10,000m as he kept the Kenyans and Ethiopians at bay in the final lap to take his second gold. As if in keeping with a movie script, the Jamaicans won the 100m relay in a world record time. A very special night for all sport fans to remember.

All the world was watching Sunday night as the emphatically cool Britannia bid farewell. The show opened to London landmarks wrapped in newspapers like the old fish and chips newsprint. The "electric storm painting" of the Union flag, if you looked closely, were actually excerpts from English literature. But, the focus was on the big traffic jam, London choosing to celebrate congestion.

The music extravaganza was brilliant. Brian May from Queen and Roger Daltry of the Who were, to quote an English expression, absolutely fab. The magic of retired ballerina, Darcey Bussell, accompanied by other members of the Royal Ballet were magical and comedian, Russell Brand, singing Beatles classics was entertaining. What a fabulous event. At the end of what will be considered one of the defining moments in Britain's 21st Century history, we have taken our final bow. The spirit of the Games has come to an end.

The Olympic flame, made up of 204 petals, slowly came to a close. A single petal will be given to each and every participating nation as a symbol of spirit and peace.

Most of the athletes departed yesterday or today through their own terminal for athletes only; I'm still waiting for my invitation but, feel I may still be leaving tomorrow from terminal 3!


Roger Potter works at Mohegan Sun Casino and is a second generation Olympian. He represented Great Britain in the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in the discipline of bobsled and his father, Reg Potter, captained the Great Britain water polo team in the 1948 Summer Olympics.

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