In the Daily Telegraph today, Boris gives twenty more reasons why we should be happy about the Olympics. After the overwhelming medal success enjoyed by Team GB – we are third in the medals table with 16 gold medals so far, the entire country is ecstatic and overjoyed.
Boris begins: “No, this is still no time to be complacent. But with less than a week until the closing ceremony, London is on course – or so I would tentatively suggest – to deliver the world a wonderful Olympic Games; and for those who are still inclined to be doubtful, here are 20 new reasons to be cheerful about the way things are going…
1 And the first is GGGGOLD!!! What a brilliant strategy our team had in those first few nail-biting days – lulling the opposition into a false sense of security. Since my last dispatch, Team GB has amassed an El Dorado of bullion, enough to make up for Gordon Brown’s disastrous decision to flog our reserves, enough to bail out the Greeks, and enough to put us – yes, folks, little old Britain – in third place on the medal table. It isn’t so long ago that French leader François Hollande was over here, gloating about how France was beating us hollow. Well, M le Président, mettez-ça dans votre pipe et fumez-le! Bien je jamais, eh!
2 We are winning not just in sports that require the athlete to sit down, or that involve a lot of expensive equipment. All you need to practise the long jump is a sandpit. All you need to get ready for a 10,000-metre race is guts, determination and talent. Even in the track and field, British athletes are showing that they are among the best in the world.
3 The Games so far are a particular triumph for British women, and for female emancipation in general. It was great to see that female judo competitor from Saudi Arabia – the first in history. She may have got squashed, but Saudi women will never look back.
4 In fact, the whole business is encouraging us all to get in touch with our feminine side. Athletes, spectators, politicians – we are all blubbing like Andy Murray on a bad day. Can you blame us? Go on – let it all out. There, there, feeling better? Blow your nose on this.
5 London 2012 is not just a breakthrough for women but for the older generation. Japan has entered a 71-year-old competitor for the dressage. He first competed for the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, the year I was born. Banzai!
6 The Olympic Stadium is looking utterly superb, and is packed with athletics fans from the beginning of the day – very unusual in modern Olympics. If you watched the climax of the events on sensational Saturday, you will have become aware of a wall of noise from the supporters – a vast pro-British sonic boom that seemed almost physically to propel the Team GB athletes. When Greg Rutherford jumped, or when Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah made their amazing sprints for the finish, you could tell they were almost literally lifted by the crowd. It must be obvious that it would be insane to knock this venue down. With or without football, that stadium has a great future.
7 Sir Paul McCartney singing Hey Jude at the velodrome.
8 The weather – perfect English weather for a garden fête.
Boris continues: “9 The BBC has more than made up for any deficiencies in its coverage of the Jubilee, with an endless stream of dazzling pictures and apposite commentary. My favourite is the late-night summary with Gabby Logan.
10 And the Beeb has not only given up the “empty seats” story. It has also chucked the stuff about “ghost town” London. There were about 100,000 people at the Hyde Park Live Site on Saturday night, and big crowds of shoppers both in Oxford Street and Covent Garden, to say nothing of the stupendous multitudes at Westfield in Stratford. Across the world people are seeing images of a country that seems to be (a) happy, (b) relaxed, (c) welcoming, (d) full of beautiful places and interesting things to do, and (e) pretty efficient at laying on the greatest sporting event on earth. That is worth a great deal to London and to the UK economy.
11 Many people seem to have enjoyed me looking like a complete prat on a zip wire. I want you to know that I had no intention of getting stuck. The only upside is that we saw a big increase in footfall in our excellent Live Site in Victoria Park, and long queues to use the zip wire of doom.
12 The ArcelorMittal Orbit may be bizarre, but it has been packed out.
13 The Tube is carrying more passengers than ever before – record numbers on most days of last week. Indeed, the transport network is (on the whole) running so reliably that quite a few officials and members of the Olympic “family” have apparently abandoned their BMWs in favour of public transport. Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, was conveyed on the Docklands Light Railway, and pronounced it comfortable in every respect.
14 Robbery in London has fallen while the Games have been on – making a safe city even safer.
15 The Games have been the most dramatic possible lesson in the virtues of ambition, hard work and competition. They are the opposite of the something-for-nothing culture. They could not come at a better time for a nation making a difficult psychological adjustment, after long years of easy credit and ballooning debt.
Boris concludes: “16 They seem to have exposed unexpected reserves of positive energy – pride – that is passionate without being remotely intimidating or chauvinistic. John Major once said he wanted “a nation at ease with itself”. Here it is.
17 The co-stars of the show have been the volunteers – whether they are with Locog, or Team London Ambassadors, or the Tfl volunteers. Most Olympic cities say that their volunteers start to drift away, with attrition rates of more than 10 per cent. Here in London we have a 98 per cent retention rate.
18We have not only revived the ancient cult of near-nudity in the beach volleyball. The park also boasts a bronze plaque with an ode to the Games in Pindaric Greek.
19 There will now be overwhelming political pressure to encourage more competitive sport in all schools.
20 Stop press. Andy Murray has just won GGGGOLD! He has defeated Roger Federer and avenged Wimbledon. Excuse me but… honk… proot… sob… I don’t think I can write any more.