Monday, 25 August 2008


Well, that's what it's been, so those who were actually there have been telling us for the past sixteen days. No doubt about it, this was the word for everything: the records broken, what it feels like to get a gold medal, the warmth of the welcome, the facilities, all those drums in the opening ceremony, that little girl.....

Some of these things might well have been described by athletes being interviewed, or commentators telling us what we were watching, as splendid, wonderful, marvellous (or, by Americans, marvelous), fantastic, delightful, amazing, astonishing, awesome, excellent, extraordinary, fabulous, fantastic, great, magnificent, outstanding, prodigious, sensational, stupendous, super, superb, terrific or any of the other nine thousand English words which express approval. Few of these were employed, though: incredible served as the universal term expressing admiration or pleasure. Those whose find themselves watching the repeats or highlights might try counting the incredibles (including incredibly), possibly adding in the almost as popular unbelievable. During and after one event alone I got up to seven.

Oh, and I regret my sniffiness about the plans for the eight-minute GB slot after the hand-over. I was quite wrong: they gave us people on bikes and several others dancing about, a zebra crossing, a bus which had things coming out of the roof, including a singer, a guitarist and David Beckham holding up a football and then kicking it. It was absolutely incredible.

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