Ever since IOC president Jacques Rogge pulled a piece of paper out of an envelope and said the word London, way back in 2005, the subsequent phrase 'Olympic legacy' has been reverberating around the ears of every British citizen, and by now it is beginning to make a bit of a racket. And as we arrive at the one year anniversary of what was an awe-inspiring event and survey the scene, everyday inhabitants of this fantastic island are forced to question the reality of said legacy.
There is no doubt that the Olympics were one of the greatest events to ever reach the British Isles, maybe even the greatest, but this is not the point up for debate. With decision makers all over the country claiming that the legacy is there for all to see; it's time to establish whether they are indeed right or whether they are blowing out more hot air than a panting Mo Farah moments after claiming a double gold in the 5,000 and 10,000 metres.
Reasons To Be Cheerful -
It is clear than the Olympics themselves did wonders for the sporting prowess of a country which has had a history of not having the smoothest road to victory on the sports field. And while Roy Hodgson and the boys were off showcasing their inability to successfully kick a pig's bladder between two sticks from 12 yards; Jessica Ennis and the rest of Team GB were giving us all a dose of that 'can do' attitude.
In the last year figures have shown that participation has definitely grown in a number of sports; not least those that we did exceptionally well in at the games such as cycling and rowing. There has also been a welcomed increase in the participation of female sport across the board.
Spurred on by the achievements of women role models like Victoria Pendleton, Jess Ennis, Ellie Simmonds and the rest of the women who represented the largest number of female athletes to ever be included in team GB; girls all over Britain have hot-footed it down to their local sports centre to get involved.
The recent high profile coverage of the women's European Championships goes to show that the media have finally woken up to the lure of female sport and football coaching for girls has also benefited by this.
Away from sport the economy has also taken a turn for the better and finally looks to be on the road to recovery, which may or may not be a result of the Olympics. More housing and jobs have also been created in and around the London area and the regeneration of the area immediately surrounding the Olympic park has had a positive impact on many people's lives. But that brings us to a very important question. Outside of the capital is there really evidence of this so called Olympic legacy?
The Mood Of The Nation -
Just days after the whole country went stark raving bonkers over the birth of a baby; the feeling it seems is a tad more muted when it comes to the Olympic legacy. Aside from some increased participation, residents of the thousands of towns and cities around the country that aren't called London are finding themselves looking around for any sign that the Olympics has left its mark.
Many people are of the opinion that once the streets were cleaned of confetti, the fires were extinguished and the nation had a chance to catch its breath; nothing much had changed at all. And it's OK for politicians and prominent figures to continually bring up the notion that the Olympic legacy is there for us all to see, but at times it does feel like a case of 'keep telling yourself something and you will eventually be convinced'.
Hope For The Future -
Other people feel that it will take at least another ten years before we see real evidence that the games have brought us more than just a few weeks of excitement in the summer of 2012. The aim was to 'inspire a generation' and it's fair to say that only time will tell whether they have indeed had an Olympic sized fire lit inside of them.
Who knows, in ten years' time we may have sporting prodigies making a name for themselves in all areas up and down this great land. And with this we may see the much needed regeneration of other areas; bringing with it homes and jobs for many more people.
So as we settle down for another dose of Olympic nostalgia in the form of this weekend's Anniversary Games; it seems for now that the legacy, in a non-sporting sense at least, has just been restricted to London and London alone; leaving people in other areas of the UK with nothing but a few spine-tingling memories of the summer that was.
What do you think? Are there signs of an Olympic legacy in your area of the country? Or is it too early to tell? Leave your comments in the space below.