Tom Degun: An emotional farewell to London 2012

Wednesday, 05 December 2012
Tom Degun ITG2It has now been a few months since London 2012 ended and in many circles; that is a lifetime ago.

On my almost-daily visits to the capital, I still travel past the Olympic Park in Stratford.

But no longer is it the lively theatre that so wonderfully showcased the world's greatest athletes to all four corners of the globe; rather an almost deserted building site that harbours the London 2012 ghosts of Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps.

Obviously it will soon reopen as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park where we are promised it will become a vibrant new East London community. But I don't think anyone can honestly expect it to still contain the same magic that it did during this summer.

The people who made it such a marvellous spectacle are also gone to different walks of life.

Rather poignantly, I attended the 2015 Rugby World Cup draw on Monday (December 3) where Debbie Jevans, the former London 2012 Director of Sport, now serves as chief executive of the Organising Committee for the next big sporting event on English shores.
 
Debbie JevansFormer London 2012 Director of Sport Debbie Jevans is now chief executive of the England 2015 Rugby World Cup

But when surrounded by the rugby media, not one reference was made to Jevans' past life at London 2012, despite her integral role in the bid for and then organisation of the 2012 Games.

But in a small corner of London this week, in SoHo Hotel, the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics was being remembered at the LOCOG annual (and last) Christmas media drinks.

Heading the cast was London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe with London 2012 chief executive Paul (now Lord) Deighton also in attendance.

As is customary for the event, Coe climbed on the table towards the end of proceedings to thank the media, surprisingly sincerely, for their contribution in making London 2012 such a success.

seb coe BOA chairSebastian Coe is now British Olympic Association chairman

"It is you, asking the hard questions, that made us a better organisation," Coe said to widespread approval in the room.

He carried on in an emotional speech before humorously ending: "See you all at the British Olympic Association (BOA) soon!"

Of course Coe was referencing the fact that he is now BOA chairman, but the joke was that it seemed almost irrelevant in the context of this night.

The interest of the British media in the next Games – the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics – will be minimal.

Interest will obviously grow again when Rio 2016 comes around but for the intermittent period; the goings-on at Coe's beloved Chelsea Football Club will have to fill the sports sections of most daily newspapers.

It is sad but perhaps not that surprising to think how fast London 2012 has already begun to fade into a distant, pleasant memory and speaking in SoHo Hotel to the wonderful London 2012 media team for potentially the last time was an enjoyable yet slightly depressing experience given that it symbolised the end of a long and wonderful journey.

Opening CeremonyLondon 2012 staged what is widely seen as the greatest Olympics and Paralympics ever

Clearly London 2012 ended several months ago but with the year now drawing to a close, it feels like the metaphorical curtain is only now closing on the Olympics and Paralympics and arguably the greatest ever year for the old capital city.

The Olympic and Paralympic circus has now packed up and left town but what remains is the warm satisfaction of having been a small part of the greatest Games in history.

And that was something rather bittersweet for all of us in SoHo Hotel.

Tom Degun is a reporter for insidethegames
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