Boris Johnson has hit back at Mitt Romney with characteristic bluster, after the Republican candidate for president of the United States expressed doubts about how London had handled the run-up to the Olympic Games.
“I hear there’s a guy called Mitt Romney who wants to know whether we’re ready," Boris told a crowd of 60,000 people in Hyde Park on Thursday evening.
"He wants to know whether we’re ready. Are we ready? Are we ready? Yes we are!”
He added: “Team GB are going to bring more gold, silver, bronze medals than you’d need to bail out Greece and Spain together.”
Romney's short visit to Britain has been overshadowed by his comments that security problems and a potential border staff strike were "disconcerting".
And to add insult to injury, Boris then paraphrased Barack Obama's famous election winning slogan telling the crowd: “Can we beat France? Yes we can. Can we beat Australia? Yes we can. Can we beat Germany? I think we can too.”
Romney met with David Cameron earlier on Thursday although he spent much of his time backtracking on his comments about the Olympics which have been dubbed a "Romneyshambles".
In what appeared to be a gentle rebuke to Romney, the prime minister told reporters in the Olympic Park this morning: "We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course it's easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere."
Romney was in charge of the 2002 Salt Lake City games in Utah, a city substantially smaller than London.
Boris also said that the "geiger counter of Olympo-mania" was about to go off the scale.
He said that in just 24 hours, the nation would see the "climactic moment when some mysterious superstar will ignite the cauldron and the Geiger counter of Olympo-mania that has been spreading through the city in the last couple of days will go zoing off the scale".
"It's quite incredible to see the excitement in London," he said, saying people had been arriving from all around the world "very smoothly through Heathrow for a change".
From there it was carried to to Hyde Park where it was greeted by Boris' speech and the cheering crowd, who had gathered to watch a concert.
Suggested For You
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more