Poking the 'perfect' Olympics

My East London hometown of Dagenham tried its best to scupper the Olympics in the final hours.

Dagenham hosted a towering inferno that London's finest firefighters struggled to contain, calling the blaze the worst in recent memory.

And still the show went on at the closing ceremony yesterday morning.

Nothing was going to stop London 2012 from being the Mary Poppins Olympics, practically perfect in every way, where everything was spit-spot, polished and in the correct place.

According to just about every intoxicated and/or hungover western journalist, London 2012 encapsulated the best of British.

No, it didn't.

Londoners do not talk to strangers. Nothing ever works in England's capital. Queuing is commonplace and local athletes usually get sand kicked in their faces by a bronzed, bicep-bulging Australian Adonis before being summarily executed.

None of this happened at London 2012. As a native East Londoner, I am confused and disoriented.

But damn it, I'm going to find fault with the sunniest of sunny Olympics if it kills me. Here is some sour "yin" to wash down with all that sickly sweet "yang".

Yang: The Wincing Matildas

AUSTRALIANS spend millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars on elite athletes every year to achieve only one goal - to finish above the "pommy b*******".

On the Australian Olympic Committee website, I'm pretty sure it says: "The AOC's objectives for the 2012 Olympic Games in London are to "shove it up the clacker of those pommy b*******".

So a winter of disconcert has fallen upon the country with a hysteria that's hysterical. They finished 10th in the medal standings. They won as many golds as Kazakhstan. To the average Australian, this is as serious as a shark attack. And I can't stop laughing.

Yin: The Recovering Matildas

In the final days of London 2012, Australia made a dramatic medal surge.

When a traumatised dog lies in the corner, never poke it with a stick.

The western media (mostly the British) has been the stick and the Australians do not like being poked. Watch them bounce back in Rio 2016. Their pride will come after a fall.

Yang: On Her Majesty's Secret Service

James Bond and the Queen were "choppered" to the opening ceremony. Nobody does it better. Makes me feel sad for the rest in Rio.

Yin: Bond did not return

Old 007 should've popped in for a vodka martini at the closing ceremony. Then he could have taken the Spice Girls away with him.

Yang: Brits backing Mo Farah without reservations

Aside from Usain Bolt's brilliance, Mo captured the mood and the moment of London 2012 not once, but twice.

Former British runner Steve Cram said he had never previously witnessed a spontaneous, tribal roar for an athlete at a track and field event like the tidal wave of encouragement that washed over Mo at both the 10,000m and 5,000m finals.

The Union Jack on his vest mattered more than the flag of his Somali birthplace. He was a man of his people. He truly belonged.

Yin: Singaporeans backing Feng Tianwei (FTW) with reservations

No one in the UK questioned Mo's "Britishness"; nor criticised his proud Somali roots; nor took issue with the money his gold medals will earn him (millions); nor accused him of being a burden to the British tax-payer (as refugees, his family was eligible for welfare payments); nor suggested his place should've been taken by a local (he's British, so he is local).

Instead, the Brits celebrated his Olympic medals as two more for Team GB and two less for someone else.

Most Singaporeans saw FTW's accomplishments the same way, acknowledging that her extraordinary ability and dedication to eat, sleep and dream table tennis since childhood won the country its first singles medal in 52 years.

Some didn't. That's unfortunate. Like Mo, she deserves to truly belong.

Yang: On time, on schedule, in shock

The trains ran. The traffic flowed. The queues evaporated. The volunteers smiled. London Mayor Boris Johnson got stuck in a harness. The co-ordination was nigh on flawless.

Yin: Efficient is a bit boring

Come on, admit it. You wanted at least one strike, didn't you? Never mind Paul McCartney mumbling Hey Jude, I was up for a little Anarchy in the UK.

Nothing dangerous to the public or crippling to the economy, just a few hundred incorrigible cabbies picketing outside the Olympic Stadium or lorry drivers rallying around a few road blocks would've done the trick. Anything to distract us from the dressage.

Yang: The best about Bolt, Wiggins and Ye

Usain Bolt, Bradley Wiggins and Ye Shiwen have two things in common. The first is obvious.

They made history look effortless. Okay, maybe Wiggins didn't in the exhausting time trial, but he has also won the Tour de France and those mutton chop sideburns look effortless. And the other thing is...

Yin: The worst about Bolt, Wiggins and Ye

They were all accused, with varying, snarky degrees of condescension, of being dopers. Wiggins has been dismissing the "armchair critics", as he calls them, since the Tour de France triumph.

Of course, the old joke is the French media assume any rider who wins their beloved Tour - and isn't French - must be as high as kite (see Lance Armstrong for details).

Carl Lewis did himself no favours with his underhand, and uncharacteristic, "time will tell" dig about Bolt's performances.

But the whispers around Ye were the most insidious. The 16-year-old 400m individual medley winner clocked a stunning time, but her mostly American accusers never pointed the finger at western athletes who performed similar superhuman feats with a stopwatch.

The allegations reeked of hypocrisy. Justin Gatlin anyone?

Yang: Women's beach volleyball

It didn't rain. The shorts stayed on.

Yin: Women's beach volleyball

Sadly, the event ended.

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