How London's bid success started something special

David Beckham and Jonathon Edwards celebrate the successful London 2012 bid. Photo: Reuters

I confess, it never crossed my mind that Singapore July 2005 would be up there with Blair's 1994 repeal of Clause 4 in Blackpool or even the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. I witnessed and reported on all three; but, as the nation puts an ecstatic full-stop to the 2012 Games and Paralympic Games, I realise it is.

From Rogge's dramatic "London", seven years ago, to Seb Coe's moving words last night, we have been transfixed as a nation and, as a patron of Scope, I trust transformed.

Singapore was hot and humid and took a dim view of dropping chewing gum on the pavement and smoking in public. The former was not a problem, as I don't chew gum; the later, a bit of a challenge but I persevered.

I'd flown over with the likes of Steve Cram, Sharon Davies and Brendan Foster and got their autographs for my kids; ITV's London Tonight had taken an early decision to back the bid. The brilliant Simon Harris and I were going to cover the 'call', live on ITV London.

Fireworks signal the end of the Paralympics and the Games in London. Credit: Press Association.

The build up was amazing - I bumped into Hillary Clinton, Nadia Comaneci and Ian Thorpe. The British delegation ranged from David Beckham, via ITV Chief Executive Charles Allen, to the Princess Royal. All were friendly; all were supportive; all were troublingly optimistic. But what if, unlike David Hemery we fell, at the last hurdle?

I should have been more optimistic: while I am sure all the bids were 'technically' sound, we had a number of subtle advantages: Blair popped in, on a flying visit, to glad-hand IOC members - no brown envelopes but one of the then most recognisable and successful democratic politicans in the world; we had one of the world's few global icons in Becks; and, in Seb and Princess Anne, we had figures who spoke 'sport' as well as English, and both were former Olympians. Finally, they were supported by a rainbow alliance of London's children - ranged across the ages and ethnic divides. Those children spoke more powerfully and elegantly to the undertaking of 'legacy' than anything the others could muster.

David Beckham and Tony Blair lent their support to the London 2012 bid. Credit: Press Association

We didn't fail. I can't recall the order in which our opponents 'fell' but suffice to say we won our Crimea, War of Independence, Agincourt and Armada moments and clinched success: 'London' said Rogge and London it was.

Charles Allen, now 'Sir' and Mayor of the Olympic Village, was then my ultimate ITV boss. That day he was my 'runner'. He shepherded guests with the enthusiasm of a new kid hoping to make a good impression on day one of a work-experience placement. Princess Anne was kept waiting by Tessa Jowell who took a phone call from Tony Blair, as Seb joined the 'panel' from somewhere. It was a magic TV moment.

Then terrorists bombed London and we saw the deep qualities in Ken Livingstone, then London's mayor, that I have always known were there. A scurry back to London. A 'red-eye' flight, a Virgin-bike from Heathrow and a live 'London Tonight' within an hour of landing. It was one of those weird periods in one's life - a bit of a blur but deeply affecting.

And now, what? A nation glued to able bodied athletes, making this surely the best Games the world has ever seen. A nation not sure that 'disabled' is appropriate anymore, having seen men and women doing things most of us can only dream of doing, with the added challenge of limbs that are missing or not functioning, muscles that have withered or never developed; eyes that cannot see and ears than cannot hear. And yet genius, awesome achievements. 'Disabled'; just doesn't seem right anymore.

GB's Sophie Wells, Lee Pearson, Deb Criddle and Sophie Christiansen celebrate their gold medal in the Dressage Individual Team Competition. Credit: Press Association

I can bore for the UK on equestrianism. At these Games we were utterly dominant. In Beijing we almost had to apologise. But it wasn't only the anticpated potency of TeamGB's Skelton-Maher-Brash-Charles axis in taking team Gold in show-jumping. It was Lee Pearson, Sophie Wells, Natasha Baker, Sophie Christiansen and Deb Cridle coaxing a ton of horse to do things you and I could only dream of. They are the paralympian dressage squad who over-came muscular atrophy, cerebral palsey and other 'disabilities' to pile up a stack of medals to make us proud.

'Disabled'? It doesn't do, does it? I have felt that way for sometime. I believe millions more now share that doubt or, at least, have been prompted by the magic of the last eleven days to, at least, question it. In no way do I belittle the achievements of TeamGB in the Olympic Games - I became hooked on a range of sports I'd barely known about before. And I became Elgar-esque in my patriotic fervour when 'we' won.

But I put Singapore 2005 up there with Blackpool 1994 and Berlin 1989 because it started something very special and very important that has left us, our nation, uplifted; and our attitudes and prejudices profoundly challenged. 'London'. Thanks Jacques. Hope you were happy with your announcement. We were.

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