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Smiles on people's faces thanks to those truly wonderful Games

By Herald Express  |  Posted: August 23, 2012

PLENTY TO SMILE ABOUT:   Double gold medallist Mo Farah

PLENTY TO SMILE ABOUT: Double gold medallist Mo Farah

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HELLO AGAIN, everyone. It's good to be back.

I think it was early last season when I was talking about the Olympic Games, which were still to take place in my 'back yard' in the East End.

All the excitement was still ahead of us then. But I think, if truth be told, that a lot of people had one question on their mind – Were We Going To Muck It Up?

Well, I think the answer to that was a resounding 'No'.

In fact, and I know I'm British and I might be biased, for me it was the best Olympic Games I've ever watched.

In that same column last season I think I also said that if I had the pick of any ticket at the Games, it would be to see Mo Farah run in the 10,000 metres.

What a night that turned out to be!

It will always go down as 'Super Saturday', with Jess Ennis, Greg Rutherford and then Mo all winning their gold medals.

It was one of those unrepeatable nights that happen in sport maybe once in a lifetime. When there's nowhere else in the world that you'd rather be.

I think the Games as a whole brought a smile to a lot of people, even people who weren't that interested in sport before that.

And I think it says a lot about the British sporting spirit that we've already bought more tickets for the Paralympics than ever before.

Isn't that advert for the Paralympics great?

All those replays from the Olympics, with the smiles and the tears and the drama, and then the caption – 'Thanks For The Warm-Up'. Brilliant.

IF THERE was one sport that didn't get rave reviews at the Olympics, it was the football. At least for Team GB.

It may sound weird coming from someone in the game, but if I had a choice between watching the athletics and the football at the Olympics, if they were on at the same time, I would watch the athletics.

One, we have ten months of full-on, full-blown football in Britain, and I think we all like a couple of months away from it. Even people like me.

Two, I see the Olympics as athletics, swimming, rowing and all those other sports where the Games are the pinnacle. Of course, well done to Andy Murray in the tennis. But which would he and the other top players rather win – the Olympics or Wimbledon?

Having said that, I do think it was a cheap pot-shot for the media to have a go at our football team, even if they didn't have a great tournament.

I think there was an agenda with some of the popular press, along the lines of 'Let's have a go at these wealthy footballers who can't win an Olympic medal'.

There's an image being put about that pro footballers just rock up for training each day, do a bit of five-a-side, and then run around on a Saturday and get paid obscene amounts of money for doing it.

Don't get me wrong, the top players do earn mega-money, but most pros only get to their level by working just as hard as many athletes over many years, day-in and day-out, and performing to their peak 40 or 50 times a season.

And from the age of about nine, 90 per cent of sports-minded lads in this country would love to be a footballer.

Internationally, our game isn't in a great place at the moment, whether it's the full senior side or the GB international team.

But when I got home from Fleetwood last Saturday, I watched a recording of Match Of The Day, then saw the Sunday and Monday night games as well.

I defy anyone to say that the first weekend of the Premier League season wasn't great entertainment.

It's still a fantastic brand. And those tabloid papers couldn't get enough of it.

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