It's over. After 16 days of watching the world's finest athletes fight tooth and nail for those coveted gold medals, the curtains have now been officially drawn on London 2012.
The trademark British cynicism that accompanied the announcement that London would host this year's Olympic Games was effortlessly washed away by the sight of Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah and the like make history and, for once, the whole nation seemed to be in agreement that London 2012 was quite bloody impressive.
Danny Boyle's quirky opening ceremony was the first sign that London might be on to something special, and if nothing else it annoyed a few Conservatives, with MP Aidan Burley tweeting this ill-conceived opinion to the sound of much uproar:
An unabashed celebration of all things British, Boyle's ceremony may well have alienated those watching who didn't have a good knowledge of British heritage, but it was so many miles away from the heavily-choreographed Beijing ceremony (many of the 'dancers' weren't professionally trained) that it stood on its own feet and, crucially, it got those in the home nation (including myself) to lose their inhibitions and surrender to the idea that London 2012 might actually be a good thing for Britain, rather than the tax-gobbling embarrassment we were anticipating.
After the ceremony things didn't get off to a great start for Team GB, with national newspapers repeatedly reminding us that our athletes were experiencing a "gold drought", with hotly tipped cyclist Mark Cavendish and fan favourite diver Tom Daley failing to impress in their opening events, and the rest of the nation's athletes unable to pick up anything higher than a silver or a bronze medal.
After a worrying opening to the games, rowers Heather Stanning and Helen Glover finally picked up a gold medal, Team GB's first in four days.
From then on the floodgates opened, with Bradley Wiggins picking up gold in the cycling time trial on the same day as Stanning and Glover's victory, less than two weeks after making history by winning the Tour de France. Speaking after his win, Wiggins said: "To go out there and put a performance like that together nine days after the Tour and win another Olympic title in another event, it is never, ever going to get any better than that."
The canoe slalom and men's double trap events were the next sports we received top honours in, with Etienne Stott and Tim Baillie winning their gold medals just minutes before Peter Wilson won his.
Then came the first gold medal win of London 2012 for Team GB's most decorated athlete, with Chris Hoy coming top in the team sprint event alongside partners Jason Kenny and Philip Hindes, with Hoy equalling Steve Redgrave's Olympic gold medal total. Hoy would surpass Redgrave's total later in the competition in the men's keirin event, solidifying Team GB's role as the top cyclists of the games.
Katherine Grainger put an end to 12 years of disappointment at the games with her first gold medal win alongside rowing partner Anna Watkins, and Ed Clancy, Geraint Thomas, Steven Burke and Peter Kennaugh bested old rivals Australia in the Velodrome in the team pursuit event for another cycling gold.
Fan favourite Victoria Pendleton won gold in the keirin, which was to be the last of her career following her announcement that she was retiring from cycling. Later in the competition tried to defend her sprint title against Australian rival Anna Meares, but came up just short and ended her illustrious career on a silver medal. Despite this, marketeers have evaluated that she is set to earn £1million-a-year post-Olympics.
Team GB continued their rowing and cycling dominance, with Pete Reed, Andy Triggs Hodge, Tom James and Alex Gregory picking up gold in the men's four, Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking winning the double sculls and Dani King, Laura Trott and Joanna Rowsell continuing Britain's magnificent run in the Velodrome with a gold in the team pursuit event.
Jessica Ennis began the greatest night in British Olympic history, captivating the nation when she secured gold in the heptathlon. Finishing with a victory in the 800m, Ennis looked unstoppable after bouncing back from an injury which saw her miss Beijing, with the immense support from the home nation driving her on to achieve multiple personal bests.
Meanwhile, Greg Rutherford was securing gold in the long jump, a moment which was difficult to comprehend after the shellshock of Ennis' victory. Greg jumped 8.21m in the second round, a score which remained unbeaten throughout the duration of the event.
Next, Mo Farah instantaneously became an Olympic legend after winning the gold in the 10,000m, doing the 'mobot' in celebration. A week later, Mo would also make history by doing the double, adding the 5000m gold to his expanding collection.
Ben Ainslie carried the Saturday gold rush through to Sunday morning, adding a fourth gold medal to his Olympic tally with a victory in the Finn class sailing event. He later announced that it would be unlikely that he would represent his country in Rio 2016.
Andy Murray then pulled out a winning performance against rival Roger Federer in the men's singles tennis final, defeating the multiple Grand Slam winner in a surprisingly easy contest, cheered on by a jubilant crowd.
Ben Maher, Nick Skelton, Scott Brash and Peter Charles won gold in the team showjumping event, while Jason Kenny added another win to GB's tally in the Velodrome. Later, Alistair Brownlee won gold in the triathlon, while his younger brother Jonny Brownlee picked up the bronze.
Carl Hester, Charlotte Dujardin and Laura Bechtolsheimer won top honours in the equestrian team dressage event, which made the nation suddenly interested in watching horses hop around in a sand box. This was followed by MORE wins at the Velodrome, with 20-year-old Laura Trott becoming a double Olympic champion in the omnium and Chris Hoy concluding our cycling success with a win in the men's keirin.
Charlotte Dujardin then picked up a gold in the individual dressage, while Nicola Adams made history by defeating Cancan Ren for the first EVER Olympic gold in women's boxing. After her historic victory, Adams stated that she wanted nothing more than to celebrate her victory by going to Nando's.
Jade Jones won the taekwondo final against two-time world champion Yuzhuo Hou, while Ed McKeever won the 200m kayak single. Mo Farah would then take home Team GB's 27th gold medal in a stunning 5000m victory, later posing with Jamaica's Usain Bolt.
Luke Campbell and Anthony Joshua closed Team GB's Olympic gold run, the two boxers victorious in the bantamweight category and the super-heavyweight category respectively.
As the London 2012 Olympic Games have ended, we British can reflect on what was a glorious display of athleticism from our best athletes. With 29 gold medals, 17 silver and 19 bronze, they far exceeded the expectations of those cheering them on from the stands and from those cheering them on at home. London 2012 was an overwhelming success, and the wait for Rio 2016 will be an agonisingly long one.
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