The sun has set on the first full day of the Olympics, although at the time of writing the matches are not yet over. In fact, I have one eye on Brazil v Turkey in the volleyball, and another on Natalia Partyka's excellent form in the table tennis. If I had a third eye, I'm almost certain it'd be watching the basketball or the boxing.
I have always loved the Olympics and really wanted my troopers to experience the excitement of the greatest sporting event on earth first hand. So I tried everything I could to get tickets: I entered the ticket lotteries for the Olympics and Paralympics, and every competition to win tickets that I could find. But it was all to no avail. I could not get a single ticket. It would be fair to say I was bitterly disappointed.
For the two weeks of the Olympics, London will be the most watched city in the world, seen by over a billion people. More than just an event for sporting achievement, the games are, for two weeks, a projection of London. But a look at the legacy of past games offers a cautionary tale that hosting the Olympics needs to be seen not just as a short-term event but a long-term investment. If China was the Olympics' golden darling, Britain is the austerity Olympics. The elaborate games in Beijing reflected a booming economy -- exports had grown a whopping 22%. The UK has taken a more modest approach: a reflection of a sobering market and steep cuts in government spending.
2012 is the first year that every nation competing has a female athlete in their team. This is a significant step given that in the first modern Olympics held in 1896 women were excluded and it wasn't until 1900 that Charlotte Cooper, a British tennis player, became the first woman to win an Olympic medal.