Most cynics were converted by the end the opening ceremony. Britons have declared the Olympics Games a breath of fresh air that united the nation during difficult times.
One of the best stories of these Games was the performances of female athletes, now from every participating nation and, with boxing, in every sport. The image of a Saudi runner receiving a standing ovation as she trailed in last place in the 800-metres will be remembered as a symbol of the world's support of Saudi female athletes. Other Arab athletes also helped to break down cultural barriers as fans from all over the world embraced the Games, and gave generous support to athletes of every nationality.
Above all, London 2012 deserves to be remembered for achievement. Stand-out moments were many: Usain Bolt's two individual golds, and a third in the sprint relay; Michael Phelps becoming the greatest Olympian ever; the host nation's gold medal grab, led by distance runner Mohamed "Mo" Farah; and the US women football team's 4-3 semi-final win over Canada. Hundreds of others, across all events, excelled.
The Games were heralded by gripes and cynicism, but the past weeks have shown a capacity for excellence that defies everyday expectations.