Just over seven years ago, on 6 July 2005, I was in Trafalgar Square jumping around hugging my friends, colleagues and family as Jacques Rogge said one little world that sent us all into a state of joyous delirium.
This week I carry the Olympic Flame in my home city. And my journey in those intervening years has been ordinary and extraordinary in equal measure.
At the time I had written an idea for a global organisation that celebrated sport's work in communities around the world. Its working title was Sport United. It became Beyond Sport, and this week the fourth annual Beyond Sport Summit will bring together almost 1,000 people just days ahead of London 2012.
Beyond Sport was founded on the simple notion that sport has a role to play beyond the confines of the pitch, field, track, court or arena. That it can be used to uplift people. To have a tangible positive effect on a community. To tackle social issues such as health, education, conflict resolution and social inclusion.
It has galvanised a movement that was ready to be galvanised and brought together a melting pot of stakeholders - corporations, politicians, development organisations, community leaders, teams, leagues and sports personalities, who believe that, used properly, sport can be a powerful vehicle for positive social change. It is an approach that has been backed by world leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who will lead the Summit. Others joining us will include committed campaigners such as Muhammad and Lonnie Ali, Francois Pienaar, Ian Thorpe, Jamie Oliver, John Amaechi and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson.
The notion that sport can play a crucial role in society and communities is not a new one - we just need to look at the bids that countries are putting forward to host major events. The IOC, and to some extent FIFA, are increasingly taken with the idea that their tournament can act as a catalyst for substantive social change.
However, phrases such as 'the power of sport' mean nothing in themselves, and the idea that just tossing some kids a ball will magically solve the world's problems gets even the most ardent supporter reaching for the sickbag. These types of phrases, packaging and non-followed-through ideas do no justice to the commitment and deep thinking that goes on from some of the remarkable people working in communities around the world.
I have travelled the globe and visited projects tackling serious violent crime and youth exclusion issues, and it is worth giving you a glimpse of what can be achieved if the right people are there in the community.
In Venezuela we have seen a project that disarms gangs and turns them into a rugby team - they get to swap their gang for a team and learn to control their aggression. It is called Project Alcatraz and is led by the amiable Alberto Vollmer and the results are breathtaking - to date they have reduced murders by 88% in their region and disarmed eight gangs.
Then there are Rob and Amy from Chicago's Little Village, who have reclaimed school playing fields that sat between the Latin Kings and the 26ers gangs. It was a no-go zone but is now the thriving hub of the community Beyond the Ball with soccer and basketball throughout the year. Rob was a businessman until a gang burnt down their home after they reported a shooting - Beyond the Ball was their response.
Their view is that the earlier kids start, the better, and they offer classes from five years old because that is when gang culture infuses into the young mind.
In Brazil, there is Fight for Peace, a staggering project in a particularly violent favela of Rio. This is life on the edge, where drugs and guns are openly sold on the street, their prices chalked up on a board like the specials at a fishmonger. Just over ten years ago, in the midst of all this, a remarkable former English anthropology student Luke Dowdney set up a boxing and martial arts gym that also offered an education centre. What he has achieved is nothing short of miraculous and is spreading - Fight for Peace has now also set up in London.
Albertos, Luke, Rob, Amy and their peers are at the centre of a group of self -starting community leaders working in tough circumstances making substantive changes. Amongst all the superstar names at the Beyond Sport Summit this week, those people will be the most celebrated and honoured.
I would never have known in that euphoric moment in Trafalgar Square that I would go on journey discovering that my lifelong passion could have such an impact on the world. I did know that few things connect with young people more powerfully than sport. Now we are working to prove it.
Follow Nick Keller on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Nickbeyond