OLYMPICS COMMENT: After a final night of celebrations in Stratford, the Olympic hangover begins in earnest.
Of course the throbbing heads will soon clear, the last of the 10,500 athletes will bid farewell to the Olympic Village and the hated Games lanes will be erased from the streets of the capital once and for all.
And at that time the event's true legacy will begin - and it must be hoped that London 2012 bequeaths us with something more than a squabble over an empty stadium.
As Morning Star readers will know better than most, the power of sport to promote social and political change has been proven time and again over the years.
It is undoubtedly one of the most powerful peaceful mediums on earth, capable of uniting and - particularly in the case of football - dividing entire continents in a single moment.
During these Games there was a palpable sense of the former as the world came together to celebrate the achievements of Olympians from all four corners of the globe.
And given Britain's current political climate, it was particularly telling that the record medal haul of Team GB and the sense of pleasure and sporting pride that their triumphs evoked, was made possible due to hard work and financial support.
When David Cameron ascended to Downing Street's throne of power he began his reign by chastising us with the claim that Britain was "broken" and that his "Big Society" could save us from ourselves.
But there was little sense of a fractured nation during the Games and the 70,000-strong army of Olympic volunteers showed the Prime Minister that community spirit is alive and well in Britain - so long as you don't try to forcibly provoke such altruism by wielding an axe.
Thankfully London 2012 also gave us all a short break from the enduring misery of austerity, aside from the context of the often spartan living standards that many athletes endured to get into peak condition for their events.
Instead Team GB proved unequivocally that if you want to succeed at something then you have to invest and persist. At a time of almost indiscriminate slashing and burning, the accomplishments of Britain's athletes shone through the gloom like beacons of gold.
National joy and pride prompted by the triumphs of Bradley Wiggins, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis to name but a few, created a feel-good factor that undermines everything austerity represents.
Indeed the simple fact is that the accomplishments of Team GB has proven beyond a shadow of doubt that there are still people in the nation who can succeed - but only if they are given the resources required to reach their goals, both on and off the track.
London 2012 also gave us all such a breath of fresh air in comparison to football's "why try when you can buy" culture, something initially tattooed into the fabric of British society by Thatcherism.
In concluding, the Games presented Britain with a vision of a different path. Hard work and dedication in pursuit of a goal, whether personal or professional, are qualities still espoused by many and often undervalued only by those who never needed such qualities to get ahead in the first place.
A worrying number of individuals lacking said qualities seem to be leading this country at present, but if the Olympics has taught Britain anything it is that we are not a broken nation at all - merely one that has been led in the wrong direction by the wrong people.
This realisation could, ultimately, prove to be the true legacy of these Games, though it may take a little soul-searching to get there - and hopefully London 2012 will leave us with far more than an enduring headache.
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