Such great heights

Transient

What did we do before the Olympics? I honestly can't remember. It came as something of a shock to see ITV was still broadcasting? You don't need a poll to tell you the blindingly obvious. London 2012 has been an amazing experience for Britain. Good for our mood, our self-esteem, our international image.

But rather than glorying in that ludicrously high gold medal tally, we’ve got off to an early start worrying about legacy.

How can we keep that promise, to "inspire a generation"?

For politicians, it just means school sport – specifically, according to David Cameron, getting primary school kids playing football and netball.

That’s not a bad idea – leaving aside the struggle some may face to find a playing field to practice on. But there are a few other ways we could get lasting change:

"SPORT" DOES NOT (NECESSARILY) MEAN "FOOTBALL"

The Premier League starts again next week. But that doesn’t mean sports news should again be endlessly dominated by tedious discussion of red cards, transfer deadlines and league tables.

Producers will shake their heads, and tell you that the Olympics are different, people just aren’t interested in “minority sports”, but they want to know whether Roy of the Rovers will soon become Roy of the Harriers, how Roy’s Achilles tendon is healing, and the identity of the mystery blonde spotted with Roy leaving a nightclub.

Look, football can be thrilling, breathtaking. And swimming can’t? Or cycling? Or rowing? Millions of people have watched these events – you never know, they might watch them again if they didn't have to wait four years to see them.

IT'S ABOUT TIME WE STOPPED TREATING WOMEN IN SPORT SO BADLY

Are we seriously going to go back to ignoring women in sport unless they’re pretty, controversial, or posing for naked photos?

How is Jessica Ennis not a better role model than Naomi Campbell? Or the Spice Girls? So why give them starring roles in the Closing Ceremony? What a curious collection of female role models to end a two-week sporting tournament.

Some of the women whose faces are now on gold medallist stamps have acknowledged the constant background sexism they’ve encountered – an assumption that women’s sport isn’t proper sport.

We’ve just had ample proof that it is, and it’s time we treated it as such.

WE SHOULD FINALLY REALISE HOW LUCKY WE ARE TO HAVE THE BBC

Imagine if the Olympics had been on Sky. The endless shouting, the shrieking hyperbole. Or on ITV - an ill-timed ad break as Mo Farah starts the last lap of the 10-thousand metres.

Actually, you don't have to imagine, just go to America. NBC pays a ludicrous sum to own the Olympics in the US. It then records everything, and throws out a few highlights hours later, in prime time. They didn't even carry the 100-metres final live. Thousands of Americans followed the Olympics on twitter, and thousands more tried to fool computers into believing they were in the UK, so they could watch it on the BBC.

And that’s because the London Olympics may turn out to be the greatest post-war service the BBC has performed for this country. Some people have happily sat through whatever appeared on BBC 1 or 3, others scoured the 24 dedicated channels set up to cover every sport. On the radio, 5live has managed to make the most obscure sports gripping. And on computers, phones and tablets, the BBC's brought this astonishing event to the host nation.

Two weeks of the licence fee costs less than £6. A fact we could perhaps remember the next time the BBC’s traditional enemies open up another largely pointless attack.

THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH SPENDING MONEY TO MAKE YOURSELF FEEL BETTER

Some people buy make-up. Or a new shirt. Others buy fluffy dice for their car. Or an iPad. As a nation, we occasionally spend money on a short-lived event, seemingly of little long-term consequence. The Great Exhibition of 1851. Or the Millenium Dome. Or staging the Olympics. Critics will question the need for such extravagance. Often, it will come at a time of austerity, say after a war or during a recession.

But that’s actually the best time to do it. Life is hard enough without sapping from it little moments of joy. We’ve just had a series of little moments of joy, strung together over a fortnight. And there’s no harm in that.