The rapturous acclaim which greeted Boris Johnson’s appearance at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics will have reverberated around David Cameron’s skull like a death rattle.
There were many who did more to ensure the success of the Games than the city’s shrewdly waggish mayor – but he contrived to personify their undoubted triumph.But who else has emerged from this glorious festival with their reputation not only enhanced but gilded?
Well, boardrooms around the land will be flinging open their doors and beckoning Sebastian Coe.
There are few honours left which can be conferred on a relatively young man who has already made it to the House of Lords, so his reward is likely to come in more tangible fashion.
Mo Farah will be summoned to the palace within months to receive his knighthood, and sponsorship deals will ensure he never has to worry where the next shilling is coming from.
More important still, he nailed some stout struts under the shaky platform of race relations in this country by proving Islam and the Union flag are not mutually exclusive.
It’s difficult to conceive quite how G4S can recover any commercial credibility after its shameful performance, which it then compounded by offering a £2.5m donation to the armed forces.
Considering the company was paid £284m for a contract which service personnel virtually carried out on its behalf, this offer was derisory.
Danny Boyle’s reputation – already gleaming after the inspired opening ceremony – was burnished still further when his extravaganza was compared to the star-studded karaoke which masqueraded as a closing celebration.
If cars covered in newspaper and the remnants of The Who really are the answer, one shudders to think what the question must have been.
In the years ahead, stories about the less seemly side of London 2012 will inevitably appear, the row over the future of the main stadium will rumble on and tumbleweed may even drift silently around the Olympic park. But nothing will take away memories of the most glorious 15 days in our recent history.