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Postcard from London: The Olympic winners and losers
With the London Olympics due to come to a close tomorrow evening, Chief Sports Writer Scott Wilson selects his biggest winners and losers from the fortnight of the Games.
It was a question that vexed the nation in the four years following the last Olympics in Beijing – 'Are we going to embarrass ourselves with a shoddy opening ceremony?'
Thankfully, with Boyle at the helm, we need not have worried. His 'Isles of Wonder' was a triumph, humorous, spectacular and thought-provoking in equal measure. It set the perfect tone for the rest of the Games and elevated Boyle to the status of national treasure.
He was already admired for his role in helping London win the right to host the Games, but by delivering such an efficient and smoothly-run Olympics, Lord Coe has earned a respect rarely afforded to politicians or sports administrators.
The former Olympic gold medallist will run for the presidency of the International Association of Athletics Federations in 2015. This last fortnight can only have enhanced his chances.
Is there any other politician that could get stuck on a zip wire dangling above the Thames, yet still emerge with his reputation intact?
While he has been criticised in some quarters for scaring away potential visitors to the capital, the last two weeks have been a triumph for the London mayor. His stock has never been higher, and while he repeatedly laughs off suggestions of running for Tory leader, there are plenty who would like him to try.
The Armed Forces
Having stepped in at the last minute to dig the Government out of a security hole, the Armed Forces have performed their roles with pride and efficiency.
As a nation, we generally admire and respect our servicemen and women, but don't get to see them at close quarters very often. Here in London, we have witnessed them in action every day, and been hugely impressed with what we have seen.
To a certain extent, the success of the Olympics was always going to be judged by the performance of Britain's competitors. So with millions of pounds of lottery money in their pockets, there was pressure on UK Sport to deliver.
The record medal haul has vindicated their spending policy and should stand British sport in good stead as it attempts to build towards more success in Rio in 2016.
It seems slightly unfair to single out one athlete above all others, but Ennis was billed as the poster girl of the Games in the build up and will leave London as a genuine star.
Bright, bubbly and photogenic, she will be offered countless opportunities to make the most of her fame. Thankfully, she seems to have a strong enough personality to cope with the attention.
The private security firm was responsible for the shambles that overshadowed the final week of the build-up to the Games, and were only saved from further humiliation when the Army stepped in.
The sight of G4S chief executive Nick Buckles grovelling to MPs will live long in the memory, and it will surely take the company an eternity to salvage its reputation after the events of the last month.
When London was awarded the Olympics, the capital's hoteliers immediately saw cash signs begin to flash in front of their eyes. Room prices were quadrupled, pricing out millions of potential visitors.
The result? Thousands of empty hotel rooms and a last-minute scramble to slash prices back to their usual rates. It probably hasn't helped the faltering British economy, but it serves so many people right.
For the vast majority of British sports, the Olympics has been an unequivocal success. Even sports previously barely known in this country, like handball and water polo, made the most of their spell in the limelight.
The exception to the rule was swimming, which failed to deliver a gold medal and could only produce a total of three medals in all. More was expected, and some serious questions will be asked in the next few months.
While Britain was revelling in its glut of gold medals, our sporting rivals on the opposite side of the world spent most of the last fortnight licking their wounds.
Used to a position in the top five of the medal table, Australia only scraped into the top ten on Thursday. As a result, their sports minister, Kate Lundy, has agreed to honour a bet that will see her don a Team GB shirt and row a length of the Eton Dorney rowing course.
For most of Great Britain's sporting big guns, the Olympics has brought glory and success. For Idowu though, the Games have been a nightmare he would probably rather forget.
First he was injured, then he wasn't. Then he was AWOL, then he suddenly reappeared. Whatever was really going on, he flopped as he failed to make the triple jump final.
As well as leading to almost universal praise for our Olympians, the last two weeks has also seen a question repeatedly posed. 'Why can't our footballers be more like this?'
In contrast to the respect, humility and unsung devotion of our Olympians, Premier League footballers appear more craven and self-centred than ever. The new season starts next weekend, but for a while at least, a backlash has begun.