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2012 has created a host of memories and the success of the games has exceeded my most optimistic hopes.

But there is one memory of these games that I still cannot get over. The scene is the Archery at Lord’s. I am sitting on the top tier of the pavilion, a place very familiar to me. But now I am watching a Korean and a Mexican battle it out.

Lord’s has been transformed. As with all Olympic venues, there are no advertisements to be seen anywhere. Stands have been erected on the grass, but the sacred 22 yards of the pitch has been protected, and the archers are aiming at the press centre. This may, or may not, be a neat symbolism and satisfy the many millions who hate my profession.

But what is this? Not far from where the archers are standing there is a screen which suddenly comes up with the message ‘Make some noise’, and even shows a clap-o-meter with an image of clapping hands.

As that image came up, I must confess I could not believe what I was seeing. I looked round to make sure I was still at the place always identified with cricket. Indeed, I can recall doing some radio broadcasts from almost the same spot many seasons ago and being told off for talking as the bowler was running up to bowl. But now, in an effort to get the crowd going for the archers, everyone was being encouraged to make noise, the more noise the better, we were told.

Now I can understand why this tradition has taken off. Despite the fact that the Olympics are 26 world championships held at the same time, and very nearly in the same city – sailing apart for 2012 – it is track and field that defines an Olympics. And the way track and field is presented, you need a crowd to make noise. So as the high jump or the long jump or the shot or javelin is going on, there will be those on the track preparing to run in the various races.

Track and field, in that sense, is a festival of multiple events taking place at the same time. It is only natural that the crowd in a huge stadium is kept aware of what is happening. Athletes expect that, indeed, high jumpers and long jumpers actually clap before they make their jump to get the crowd going. And as the hush that descended at the start of the 100 and 200 metres showed, the crowd know when to keep silent.

However, what has been happening in 2012 venues is more a case of importing an American idea to this country; that the way to indicate enthusiasm in sport is by making a general noise. This has been carried over into the volunteers, who get the crowds getting into or out of venues to do high fives. It works in America, but that has a very different sporting tradition.

I, for one, would regret if this American sporting tradition caught on in this country. The long accepted practise in this country is you applaud when you see something worth applauding and do not just make noise at the command of the stadium announcer. There is a lot to be said for it.

No, this is nothing to do with stiff upper lip and all that nonsense. Noise for noise sake means nothing and indeed, detracts from enjoyment and devalues genuine appreciation.

I hope this is one Olympic legacy that does not last beyond the Games.


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