I am old enough to remember the Cold War. In fact, I travelled to Berlin to see in the new year for 1990 because of the breach in the Wall. That heralded a new world, an end to the fears of a nuclear Armagedddon, and coincided with the birth of my daughter who carries the middle name of Berlin in consequence.
But it has taken until London 2012 for the spirit of 1989/90 to work its way into sport. My generation remember the snarling Eastern bloc athletes, pumped full of performance enhancing drugs and indoctrianted with Communist ideals of humiliating the decadent capitalists, and the imperialist capitalists routinely belittling every medal secured by the hated Marxists. Yes it was the Olympics, but it was also the Cold War carried into the sporting arena.
In fact, this even manifested itself within the GB "team". The Coe versus Ovett contest had nothing to do with team spirit and everything to do with individual egos and personal rivaries.
But this has all changed in a quite remarkable way. Look at the reaction of Louis Smith and Kristzian Berki after tying for a gold medal. Berki won it on a tie break and the reaction of both athletes was a joy to behold, with each hugging the other in a way that would have been impossible when ideologies divided East and West and suspicion shrouded every medal won by the communists. Dear God, even the Chinese are smiling!
The same spirit was displayed majestically by Federer after he was blown away by the new user friendly Andy Murray. Once again we saw the most wonderful sportsmanship, with the greatest tennis player the game has ever seen acknowledging the brilliance of Murray and accepting defeat with sublime grace.
As footballers roll around feigning injury, seeking free kicks and penalties they do not deserve, the Olympics has shown what sport could and should be, and what the world could and should be too. When the badminton players betrayed the spirit of the Games, the authorities stepped in and took immediate, decisive action. The cynics were ejected and the spirit of the Olympics was upheld. FIFA should watch and learn!
It has been another great day for humanity today. If we could just get the Middle Eastern nations to take sport seriously, perhaps even the likes of Syria, Israel and Iran could learn the true meaning of the words decency and fraternity and we might then end up with a world where tolerance, generosity and understanding stand side by side with rivalry and competition. The Olympics is all about winning but winning in the right way. We can all learn from the example!