The BBC has revealed that in excess of 26 million people watched the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games. Going back a little bit further, 17 millions watched on Super Saturday when Britain won 6 Gold medals, 27 millions watched the Opening Ceremony and 20 millions tuned in for the 100 metre race with Usain Bolt. In fact, anything with Bolt guaranteed high viewings.
Let's put that in perspective for our little country. These are the sort of viewing figures we used to have 30 or 40 years ago when TV was a novelty and in its hey day. When comedy shows like Morecambe & Wise, Monty Python, and Benny Hill ruled the roost. With the onset of the Internet and multimedia, an audience of 7-10 millions for anything on current TV is considered a very successful programme. So to get audiences above 15 millions watching almost everything in sport is like Christmas coming early for any broadcaster.
That has been the power of these Games in our country: it has galvanised the organisers, the broadcasters, the volunteers, and finally the people. We are coasting on a wave of euphoric success just now, reliving thrilling moment after moment, as we replay scenes in our head or on the screen, and one can feel the joy and satisfaction rippling across the the nation. We Brits can be slow to start, and can be awfully sceptical and doom laden (blame our weather!) but once we can see something for ourselves, its value and benefit, we don't need any second bidding to get behind it. And that's what happened to the Olympics in our country.
We worried and fretted about staging it at the beginning because we so wanted it to be a success, all we could do was find fault instead. That is why when Mitt Romney put his two cents in, especially as an honoured guest in our country, worth in we were not impressed. And when the empty seats in the first two days seemed to confirm our worst fears, pandemonium broke out among the media and the public, especially from people who were told no tickets were available yet were staring at all those empty seats. But that flawed beginning also served its purpose to galvanise the organisers into making the tickets more accessible, and since then, people came out in droves to support whatever sport or athletes that took their fancy.
It is a wonderful week to be British, eccentric, unpredictable AND successful too. We have always stressed taking part as the real goal of life, not giving up or feeling afraid to join in. But we are all agreeing just now, with big broad smiles of satisfaction, that it is very nice to win too, especially when not quite expected. :o)