Let's hope we build on what has been an unforgettable Games, says Joe Dyer, as he says goodbye to the 2012 Olympics
"'Inspire a generation' should not be an empty platitude that ultimately meant nothing because these Games deserve something far, far better than that."
Here then ends a breathless Olympics that much of the UK will never forget.
Already there are acres of newsprint and megabyte upon megabyte of internet space devoted to the brilliance of the 2012 Games. I don't hope to produce anything that rivals what is out there - this is a betting blog after all - but we are a London-based company and the writer of these words is a Londoner, born and bred in the East End to boot, and it doesn't seem right to let the day go by without offering a small appreciation of what has been an exceptional experience over this last fortnight-and-a-half.
Quite simply this has been the highlight of my life as a sports fan. I've been lucky enough to attend two sessions at the athletics, and a semi-final of the men's volleyball, and was wowed on all three occasions. And it seems as though I have been joined in my sporting fever by nearly everyone else in the UK, and the tourists and athletes over here too.
To a degree that was always going to be the case. Olympic Games are always greeted with near unrestrained glee in this country of sports lovers and one staged in these isles would always be loved regardless of what it served up.
Yet you can't help but feel that these Games somehow exceeded expectations; that they were truly loved by a country that has been wrapped up in sporting fervour ever since the women footballers kicked us off way back on July 25.
The achievements of Mo Farah, Jess Ennis, Andy Murray, Katherine Grainger, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Hoy, Ben Ainslie and many, many more have lifted a recession-hit country from economic gloom and spun us into an excited gaggle by the "greatest show on earth" and its ludicrous spread of sporting wonders and oddities.
Tomorrow we wake up from the Olympic dream and go back to that world and already debate rages about school sports provision, funding sports in future Olympics and how we build on the legacy of the 2012 Games.
That is right, of course. We must plan and we must know what comes next and not just let the desire to do something dissipate into nothing.
"Inspire a generation" should not be an empty platitude that ultimately meant nothing because these Games deserve something far, far better than that.
Now, enjoy the closing ceremony and get back to your betting!