Having spent the last fortnight completely glued to the Olympic Games, cheering on Team GB (who won a staggering 29 Gold Medals), weeping over every heroic triumph, every graceful defeat and every epic BBC montage, I cannot think of a better place to have spent the last 16 days, other than London.
I believe these games have inspired a generation and there is no doubt that Rio De Janiro has some awfully BIG (fabulous and sparkly) booties to fill.
Well done London!
Here are just a few of my favourite moments and most lasting memories…
Above: The latest Bond Girl... The Queen! Having HRH being escorted into Danny Boyle's Opening Ceremony extrvaganza by noneother than Daniel Craig's James Bond was nothing short of genius. What a great sense of humour and great sport!
Above and Below: I was lucky enough to go to Stratford's Olympic Stadium to watch the athletics. Amongst other things, I watched Usain 'Lightning' Bolt in his 200m heat... WOW. (And yes... that IS a Team GB headband... and that IS glittery gold nailpolish...!)
Below: Gold medalists Mo Farah and Usain Bolt swap signature poses on the podium.
Both total LEGENDS.
Below: After racing against double-amputee Oscar Pistorious in the 400m semi-final, 19 year old Grenadian Kirani James (who went on to win the Olympic Gold) asked to swap name badges with him, "competing against Oscar is a huge honour… He’s an inspiration for all of us. What he does… takes a lot of courage. He’s very special to our sport.”
Below: Team GB poster girl and much loved athelete Jessica Ennis was crowned Olympic heptathlon champion. Ennis said, "I want to thank everyone who has supported me, they have been amazing… I told myself at the start that I'm only going to have one moment to do this in front of a crowd in London and I just wanted to give them a good show."
Below: Many religious conservatives fought against her participation in the Olympics but Sarah Attar became the first female track and field Olympian to represent Saudi Arabia. Despite coming last in the 800m race, Sarah made a great statement with every stride and she completed the race to a standing ovation. Sarah said, “It is such an honour to be representing my country... Hopefully, this can make a huge difference.”
Below: Andy Murray’s celebrations as he beat Roger Federer, winning the gold medal after straight-sets was unbelievably emotional. The jump for joy, the big smooch, the tearful 11 year old child running to hug Andy… It was just all too much for me... Sob!
Below: Kat Copeland’s shocked and endearing reaction when winning the gold medal in the double sculls alongside her rowing partner Sophie Hosking was golden in itself. Kat said, "I can't believe this is real, that we just won. We just won the Olympics!”
Below: Celebrity manicurist Sophy Robson and her ‘Nail Porn’ team were 'on hand' with a pop up nail salon in the Olympic Village and swimmer Rebecca Adlington won her bronze medal in the 400m freestyle race whilst proudly sporting patriotic Team GB nail art!
Below: On the same evening that Victoria Pendleton retired from competitive cycling, a new British cycling star was born; Laura Trott. Despite being a wee 5ft 4ins (and born with a collapsed lung) Laura won TWO gold medals (and Jason Kenny.)
Below: Nicola Adams made history by becoming the first ever woman to win an Olympic boxing gold. The ever-beaming, Yorkshire lass said the win had “made my day” and went to celebrate at Nandos, “a chicken in pitta, medium with chips and perinaise.”
Below: The Real McHoy! Sir Chris Hoy won his 6th Olympic Gold medal making him the most successful British Olympian ever. After winning the keirin event at the velodrome (which like his mother, most of us found almost too unbearable to watch!) the emotional 36 year old said, “‘I’m in shock. You try to compose yourself but it’s surreal.”
Below: 23 year old David Rudisha had been referred to by the press as ‘the greatest runner you’ve never heard of,’ but when the softly spoken Masai tribesman from Kenya went on to SMASH the 800km world record, the whole world knew his name. It was such a fast race that the man who finished last (Team GB’s Andrew Osagie) ran a time that would have won him a gold in the last three Olympics. London Games chief Sebastian Coe, himself a former 800m world record holder said, "Instead of just doing enough to win the race, he wanted to do something extraordinary... Rudisha's run will go down in history as one of the greatest Olympic victories." I was raised in Kenya and feel very proud.
Below: Adorable! Royal composure out the window, Team GB Ambassadors Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge (Wills’n’Kate) could not resist a celebratory hug after seeing the British men’s pursuit team win gold at the velodrome. Love them.
Below: Bo-Jo On A Wire! Oh Boris… When you got stuck on that zip wire and left marooned, dangling in mid-air over Victoria Park holding your two Union Jacks, I could not have loved you more! Always keen to see the positive, Boris remarked, “after I got stuck on that thing we did have a big increase in the number of visitors.”
Can someone PLEEEASE make me a little Boris mobile for my car’s rear view mirror?!
Below: The Spice Girls Spiced Up Our Lives once more at the closing ceremony, entering the stadium on top of black cabs, each lit up to represent their differing Spicy personas. ‘Wannabe’ was belted out, followed by ‘Spice Up Your Life’ which saw Bo-Jo rocking out, thumbs up and hips a'swaying next to a clapping Dave and Sam-Cam.
He can do NO wrong.
Below: We saw giant billboards parade around the stadium with stunning images (photographed by Nick Knight) of Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Georgia-May Jagger, Jourdan Dunn, Lily Cole, Lily Donaldson, Stella Tennant, Karen Elson and David Gandy eventually torn down to reveal the stunning supermodels themselves. The British beauties all stormed down the fire-lit runway wearing golden creations by some of Britain’s top designers to the sound of David Bowie’s ‘Fashion.’ Incredible.
Phew... What were YOUR favourite moments?!