On a personal note, my two-and-a half-year old son calmly announcing “it’s that song again” as Great Britain’s national anthem of “God Save the Queen” blared out after Andy Murray destroyed Roger Federer in the men’s tennis couldn’t be beaten. But from a sporting perspective, it has to be Louis Smith and Max Whitlock winning silver and bronze for Team GB in the gymnastics. I never thought I could care so much about a sport I rarely watch but there I was screaming at the TV, imploring them to nail their routines. They were graceful under pressure, showing both the passionate home crowd, and watching world, that Britain can perform in sports they don’t have the greatest track record in. Who knows: Perhaps the next generation of British males might not feel as compelled to stick with soccer as previous ones.
The irony is that had things turned out differently, this could have been one of the highlights. At the halfway stage of the competition, Tom Daley and Pete Waterfield were leading the field in the men’s synchronized 10-m-platform final. Never could a crowd in a diving arena scream and shout with such gusto. But when they mucked up their fourth dive – the notorious reverse 4 1/2 somersaults with tuck – it took all the air out of the aquatics center. Daley and Waterfield would finish in the worst position of them all – fourth – as Britain’s quest for a gold continued. We all know now that there would be a happy ending for the host nation, but at the time, it felt like the Brits were putting on the world’s greatest party and simply couldn’t enjoy it themselves.