The Olympics are over. The Olympics are over.
It's been a blur of elite GB success and medals, all set against the impossibly glamorous backdrop of Rio de Janeiro. A 'state-sponsored programme' to generate long term success, some are calling it. A few embittered rivals are even drawing unfair comparisons with tainted regimes of previous generations.
We've never seen elite success like it. Faster, higher, stronger has never rung truer than in 2016.
But are technical achievements of sublime prowess what we'll remember it for. Are they really? For all the medal table data and 'making history' records, it's not the cold numbers that really stick in the mind. Nor is it even those indelible sweeping vistas of Sugar Loaf mountain or Copacabana beach.
And (with a couple of notable exceptions) it's not the medallists' 'unbelievable' answers all to those finish line 'can you describe your feelings' interview questions.
The reality is that, whilst we sit slack-jawed watching trampolining skills and cycling power we can't begin to relate to, that's not what moves us. That's not what we will reflect on with lumps in our throats watching montages years from now.
It's the humanity.
Whilst so much of Olympic success comes down to years of planning, it's the unplanned moments of irrepressible joy and good that stick with us.
Simon Barnes is one of the great sports journalists. In his brilliant The Meaning of Sport, he never wavers from his view that the Olympics are the greatest coming together of humankind, bar none. He describes how, as a journalist at the Olympics, you can wander from one building to another knowing - knowing - that inside each one people are experiencing the biggest day of their life.
It's these emotions that will stay with us. Moments that resonate and move because - just fleetingly - the protagonists could be us.
Yes, Laura Trott was peerless in adding to her cluster of gold medals. But wasn't the most memorable moment the time she accelerated majestically away from her last rival in the elimination race like she was standing still? Just for a moment she was a 6 year old cycling newbie, wind in her hair, the sheer joy of going faster and faster and winning a race. All set against the backdrop of Dame Laura and Sir Jason pedalling away into the sunset of marriage.
Sir Bradley won gold once again, but wasn't it less his astonishing medal tally and more his unifying abilities, his bringing together of a team and a nation, that really won us over once again? That, and a good dollop of irreverent silliness.
Talking of silliness, who could fail to be won over by Kiribati weightlifter David Katoatau with his high camp dance moves? At the other end of the spectrum in weightlifting, was there a dry eye amongst those who saw the poignant emotions of retiring Colombian Oscar Figueroa's farewell kiss of his weights?
If the GB cyclists seemed as tight knit as a family, other winners really were family. That moment the Brownlee boys clasped hands, prostrate and broken under the Rio sun, instantly eclipsed their previous 1hr 45 mins for sheer emotion. Siblings running around till they were exhausted, just as they might have been 20 years ago, messing around in the Brownlees' back garden. The same went for the German twins crossing the line together in the women's marathon.
Talking of family, how could anyone who saw Brazil's first gold medalist in judo submerged under her loved ones fail to be moved? And what about our sailing girls gliding up to the beach to celebrate with their nearest and dearest? Families who've been so integral to their progress from that day they first skipped home chirping, 'I'd like to do that again next week, Mummy and Daddy'.
In truth, so often it didn't matter whether you were related by blood. The Olympic family bond is bigger than that. Our divers, Jack Laugher and Chris Mears, were best mates but hugged like brothers at their unexpected 3m synchronised gold.
Even sworn opponents often recognised the greater good. American Abbey D'Agostino and New Zealand's Nikki Hamblin limped on arm in arm to complete their 5,000m heat despite D'Agostino's torn anterior cruciate ligament. And that net embrace and tender words between warriors Murray and Del Potro after 4 hours of gruelling tennis.
And then there were those moments that so astonished those who'd actually accomplished the feats themselves that you felt they might actually pop. Like Bryony Page, GB trampolining silver medallist (still sounds odd, doesn't it?), a relative outsider who felt happy to have reached the final at all. Or our badminton bronze medalists on the penultimate day. The look on each face was like a child being told they're going to Disneyland.
In fact for all the more anticipated success in rowing and cycling and athletics, it was often the 'minority' sports that had the power to move beyond the others. That palpable sense to the viewer that years of devotion, often to a solitary and unglitzy pursuit, could boil down to moments, seconds.
Three weeks ago, who would have said that 9 million of us would sit glued to our tellies watching a game of hockey? What, that school game you never much fancied playing? Not any longer. At least for now, Maddie, Georgie, Helen, Alex, Kate, Crista, Hollie and more are household names. Heroes who combined bewildering pace and skills, unstinting stamina, raw courage and sheer bloody-mindedness for 8 glorious matches. They had what Simon Barnes would call 'Redgrave'. We. Will. Not. Be. Beaten.
Yes, they are elite professionals with skills and fitness we can only marvel at. But their pure joy in victory, their love for their team mates and their pride in representing their country are oh so human.
It's that intoxicating combination of the best in humanity that allows life to stop for two weeks every four years.
Does it really have to be over?
Keep Rio Memories Alive in Red, White and Blue
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