It’s hard to remember now, but there was a time when quite a few people were prophesying that the 2012 London Games would be a disaster.
There were complaints that it was all costing too much, and predictions that it would turn into an organisational shambles – in fact, the BBC even managed to make a critically acclaimed sitcom, Twenty Twelve, based on that very theme. And then there were the naysayers who feared that Team GB’s athletes might struggle under the huge weight of public expectation.
But then on July 27, Danny Boyle unveiled his spectacular opening ceremony, complete with a parachuting Queen, a joint celebration of the NHS and children’s literature, and a performance of Chariots of Fire featuring Rowan Atkinson on keyboard, and suddenly it seemed like even the most hardened cynics decided the Olympics might not be so bad after all.
And when the medals started pouring in, proving that British athletes aren’t eternally doomed to plucky underdog status, it appeared that against the odds, the national mood was truly lifted.
British sports fans recently got a chance to relive those glory days with Andy Murray’s Wimbledon win, but now the Olympic spirit is back with a vengeance, thanks to the London Anniversary Games. To make it feel just as if we’ve turned a year back in time, the event comes from the Olympic Stadium, and is presented by Gabby Logan. Coverage begins on BBC Two at 7pm, and moves to BBC One at 8.30pm.
Many of the athletes who made the headlines 12 months ago are set to compete in this event which also serves as the 11th round of the lucrative Diamond League. Usain Bolt is surely the biggest of all the names scheduled to compete this evening as he looks to produce another dominant performance on the track in the 100m.
And he points out that it’s not just Brits who feel a bit nostalgic about last year’s summer of sport.
The sprinter told the BBC: “I’m looking forward to coming back to the UK, especially with it being a year since winning three gold medals in the Olympic Stadium.
“The crowd were amazing at the Games and I hope they will be out again in their numbers at the end of July.
“I haven’t competed at the London Diamond League since 2009, but it has always been a great meet with lots of Jamaican support. It almost feels like running at home.”
He should get his wish about the crowds – tickets for the event sold out in just over an hour, and spectators will also have a few British stars to cheer for too.
Two of the trio who helped to make ‘Super Saturday’ so, well, super, are also expected to compete over the weekend, with double champion Mo Farah taking part in the 3,000m and Greg Rutherford looking for another long jump victory. Sadly, heptathlon title-winner Jessica Ennis-Hill isn’t expected to compete in the 100m hurdles against Australia’s Olympic champion Sally Pearson due to injury.
And, we’re also not guaranteed that James Bond or Isambard Kingdom Brunel will be dropping in, but if you want proof that the Olympic legacy lives on, this weekend should provide it.
Live Athletics: BBC Two 7pm & BBC One 8.30pm