Now that the London 2012 Olympic Games have come to a close, we get to talk to the most important man behind the scenes, IOC President Jacques Rogge, about his most special moments and what the Games mean to him.
How are you feeling now that the Games have concluded?
I am a very happy and grateful man; very happy with the London 2012 Olympic Games and very grateful to the London Organising Committee (LOCOG) for delivering an incredible Games.
Can you describe your most special moment?
There are so many special moments and so many incredible athletes it is difficult to pick just one: Andy Murray winning gold at Wimbledon, Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps excelling in their fields and, as a sailor, I had great pleasure watching Ben Ainslie (GBR). I was also delighted to witness some of the Youth Olympic Games athletes from Singapore 2010 compete at their first Olympic Games, many of whom won medals, such as South African swimmer Chad le Clos.
For me, one of the most defining moments of the Games was the tears of Chris Hoy on winning his sixth gold medal in his home nation. For a sportsman like myself, the last 16 days have been a dream for me.
Has London 2012 inspired the next generation of sporting talent?
London 2012 put the athletes at the heart from the very beginning when they won the Games in Singapore in 2005. It is the athletes who will inspire the next generation. We have witnessed sporting beauty in action during these Olympic Games, moments that will inspire young people watching the Olympic Games, not only in the home nation but around the world. The people are an important legacy of the Games - a lot of youngsters will have been motivated by the role models they have seen on their screens to go to their local sports clubs and practise sport.
How has London 2012 helped the Olympic Movement?
I would say London has invigorated the Olympic Games in many respects. Not only did LOCOG deliver what it promised, but it ensured that the Games were perfect for the athletes, from the fantastic athlete’s village to the state-of-the-art venues and services. The atmosphere here in London has been unforgettable, the public reaction was exceptional and the volunteers, who are the unsung heroes of the Games, were efficient and always gave the warmest of welcomes.
What do you think has been the legacy of London 2012?
LOCOG identified from the outset the importance of legacy and a producing a sustainable Olympic Games and it has demonstrated this with the regeneration of east London and clever use of temporary venues.
In terms of human legacy, London 2012 aimed to inspire the next generation and this has undoubtedly been achieved.
What lessons can be learnt from London 2012 for future host cities?
Future host cities can learn so much from London 2012, but like the athletes, we constantly strive to improve on our last performance. In November there will be a debriefing session in Rio, Brazil, where the two host cities (London 2012 and Rio 2016) will come together to go through all aspects of the organisation and share knowledge. No Games are ever perfect; we always aim to improve and together we will succeed.