Will London hear at the closing ceremony the traditional compliment that it was one of the greatest Olympic host cities? Will the Games unfold without attempted terrorist attacks, venue or crowd problems — or other foul ups?
(Photo by Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images)
By Mike Tierney, Special to Universal Sports
It once was customary at every closing ceremony for the president of the International Olympic Committee to pronounce the Games just ended as the greatest ever. Since 1996, the praise has been toned down slightly to something reasonable, such as “a most excellent Games.”
The way things have transpired during the drumroll in London, we might hear, “The 2012 Games? Not bad. In fact, they were . . . okay.”
The firm in charge of security failed to hire enough personnel to meet requirements, causing a mad scramble for qualified guards. Several labor groups, including passport workers at the airport and train drivers, have threatened to strike. Event ticket distribution has been fraught with delays. And rain has been an almost daily occurrence, slowing preparations while casting gloom.
Every host city encounters bumps in the lead-up. By the time the flame is lit on Friday, major problems could be solved and sailing might be smooth for the 2 1/2 weeks. If not, to those of us who just watch on television and judge an Olympics solely on the quality of the competition, this one might be as “most excellent” as its predecessors.