Mike Rowbottom ©ITG

On Wednesday (July 27), the 10th anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be celebrated at the City's Guildhall.

A decade on from what many fondly remember as one of the best Olympics to be held there are strong hints emerging from London’s City hall that the capital is eyeing a repeat staging.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan used a trade visit to the United States in May to unveil plans for his city to become the "sporting capital of the world," and that he wants the biggest showpiece of all - the Olympic Games - to return.

He has set his sights on 2036, the next available Olympics, after Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028 will have joined London as hosting the Games three times. They are due to be followed by Brisbane in 2032 and cities and countries are already trying to position themselves to be next.

Khan had promised another Olympic bid in his election manifesto last year and this is one pledge he seems determined to keep. 

The Mayor has tied hosting the Olympics in with another of his key promises, making London a more sustainable city.

This week David Miller, former chief correspondent for The Times, reported for insidethegames that Sir Hugh Robertson, chairman of the British Olympic Association (BOA), had spoken with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach at its Lausanne headquarters over the process that would be involved in Britain bidding for a fourth Olympic hosting in 2036 or 2040 following the stagings in the capital in 1908, 1948 and 2012.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has said he wants the Olympic and Paralymic Games to return to the city in either 2036 or 2040 ©Getty Images
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has said he wants the Olympic and Paralymic Games to return to the city in either 2036 or 2040 ©Getty Images

"The BOA made it clear they had no involvement in earlier statements from London's City Hall and Government about potential future bids, but left Lausanne in the knowledge that any future bid would need to engage with the IOC's 2020+5 Agenda process," Miller wrote.

He added that Robertson was "cautiously unspecific" unspecific about the potential venue.

On Friday Khan recalled at the lighting of the Anniversary Flame commemorating the London 2012 Games that the Olympics had "breathed new life" into the city.

That same heady breath of life returned for many Britons who witnessed the recent Platinum Jubilee celebrations held in honour of Queen Elizabeth II. 

It felt, fleetingly, like the summer of 2012.

In retrospect, the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics remain what they appeared to be at the time - one of the great Games. Something to look back upon with pride and affection.

Everyone will have their own recollections of those momentous weeks during which the capital reprised the role it had served in 1908 and 1948. Here are some of mine.

For me the London 2012 Opening Ceremony, as for so many other Britons - although definitely not all - was surprising and special, a reflection, an expression, of our own country.

On that evening I was inside the Olympic Stadium, and I felt the exaltation of a huge event arriving. It was like being lifted off your feet and carried forward by an immense wave.

It was the same when the Sydney 2000 Games got underway.

In the space of four hours Danny Boyle, the Oscar-winning film director in overall charge of the Ceremony, created a fresh sense of wonder at Britain’s transition from a pastoral to an industrial society.

The spectacle ranged through history, tipping its hat en route to British Army veterans - Chelsea Pensioners marching proudly in a late parade - Pearly Kings and Queens, and the arrival in the 1950s and 1960s of West Indians who came to be known as the Windrush Generation, named after the Empire Windrush ship which brought one of the first groups to Britain in 1948.

The London 2012 Opening Ceremony created a fresh sense of wonder at Britain’s transition from a pastoral to an industrial society ©Getty Images
The London 2012 Opening Ceremony created a fresh sense of wonder at Britain’s transition from a pastoral to an industrial society ©Getty Images

Among the other striking features of the ceremony was a celebration of the creation and expansion of the National Health Service, with volunteers dressed in classic 1940s nurses’ uniforms who arrived pushing beds and equipment and formed a dancing centrepiece before giving way to the airborne arrival of umbrella-powered Mary Poppins figures.

Speaking personally, these were details I hadn’t expected to see that evening, although I was also surprised when I saw Her Majesty the Queen apparently parachuting into the stadium from a helicopter in company with James Bond, 007…

Sitting alongside me that evening was a dear friend and colleague. 

During the extended National Health Service sequence I turned to him and saw tears in his eyes. 

He was deeply moved by this evocation of what many British people regard as one of the defining virtues of their society - and his feelings were deepened by the fact that his father had been an NHS doctor all his working life.

In his programme notes, Boyle had remarked:

"…we hope, too, that through all the noise and excitement that you will glimpse a single golden thread of purpose - the idea of Jerusalem - of a better world, the world of real freedom and true equality, a world that can be built through the prosperity of industry, through the caring nation that built the welfare state, through the joyous energy of popular culture, through the dream of universal communication.

"A belief that we can build Jerusalem. And that it will be for everyone."

Just as the Sydney 2000 Olympics had its Magic Monday, when 400m runner Cathy Freeman, who had lit the Stadium Cauldron, won home gold on a night of stellar athletic competition, the London 2012 Games had Super Saturday.

In the space of less than an hour on August 4 the host nation won three - yes, three - of the five track and field gold medals on offer at that evening session through Jessica Ennis in the heptathlon, Mo Farah in the 10,000 metres and, rather more unexpectedly, Greg Rutherford in the long jump.

"For Britain to win three gold medals on one night was absolutely unbelievable," said Ennis. 

"And we have still got a lot of really good medal prospects still to go. 

"I think it will definitely, or hopefully, lift the next generation. 

"I think it’s going to have an effect for many years."

Mo Farah en route to 10,000m gold on the night when British athletes won three golds at the London 2012 Olympics ©Getty Images
Mo Farah en route to 10,000m gold on the night when British athletes won three golds at the London 2012 Olympics ©Getty Images

As things turned out, only one more athletics gold arrived for the host nation as Farah completed his double with the 5,000m title a week later.

Four years earlier, Ennis had flown home early after pulling out of the Gotzis international heptathlon to learn that the reason her ankle hurt her so much was because it had suffered a stress fracture. 

Her Olympic ambitions in Beijing were over. 

But fate had a very big consolation in store for her.

Skip forward an Olympiad and the 26-year-old Sheffield athlete delivered the first British Olympic gold medal on a home athletics track since the last day of the 1908 London Games, July 25, when Wyndham Halswelle won 400m gold.

The London 2012 organisers released figures concerning the decibel levels reached during key events in the stadium. The Super Saturday level, loudest for Farah, was a soaring one - but not the loudest.

That distinction was claimed by the crowd that witnessed home sprinter Jonnie Peacock’s victory in the Paralympic men’s 100m T44 final in 10.90sec. 

It was a very different crowd from that which had filled the stadium for the Olympics - less used to witnessing major sporting events.

The chants before the race got underway, touchingly sincere, could have come from a Games of the 1920s, with the most obvious of them being the simple chanting of "Pea-cock, Pea-cock, Pea-cock." 

We were only one stage off "Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate!" And yet there it was - the biggest hoo-hah, officially, of London’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.

One of the legacies of London’s 1908 staging was the marathon distance of 26 miles 385 yards (or 42.195km).  As the story is told, Queen Alexandra requested that the race start on the lawn of Windsor Castle - so the Royal children could see it from the window of their nursery - and finish in front of the Royal Box at the White City stadium. Thus the length of the course was settled - and so it has remained.

After London had stepped up to host the first Olympics after the Second World War in 1948, some argued that the legacy was nothing less than the continuation of the Games.

Fanny Blankers Koen of The Netherlands, a 30-year-old mother-of-two known as
Fanny Blankers Koen of The Netherlands, a 30-year-old mother-of-two known as "The Flying Housewife" won four track golds at Wembley when London hosted the 1948 Olympics ©Getty Images

Sixty four years on, Boyle’s references to building Jerusalem were stirring indeed at the time. But how do those material efforts, in terms of the London 2012’s legacy, stand up?

In proposing the idea in May that London should bid for the 2036 Games, Khan made clear his confidence in the enduring benefits of the London 2012 edition.

"If it’s the case we want to have a world that is green, that is sustainable, but also includes having Olympics that are sustainable - not building stadiums that sit empty but reusing stadiums and facilities that already exist," he told ITV London.

"We've got the facilities in London so the cost wouldn't be humongous, and we could have the greenest Olympics ever."

Duncan Mackay, the insidethegames editor, has questioned the ease with which another Games could be accommodated in London, pointing out that the 80,000-capacity Olympic Stadium is now the 60,000-capacity London Stadium, home of Premier League football club West Ham United.

He added that discussions are underway for UK Athletics, which signed a post-Olympic 50-year deal to host flagship events there that appeared to flounder last year over the staging of a Wanda Diamond League meeting, to exit that contract, which would leave the capital once again without a working major athletics venue.

The Aquatics Centre that was built for the London 2012 Games is now in regular use by the local community ©Getty Images
The Aquatics Centre that was built for the London 2012 Games is now in regular use by the local community ©Getty Images

The Aquatics Centre, which once held 17,500 spectators, has been repurposed as a community-use pool with space for just 3,800 fans.

The Basketball Arena and Water Polo Arena were both taken apart and recycled after the Games, while Earls Court Exhibition Centre, which hosted volleyball, was demolished five years ago.

"Replacements for these venues could be found but the loss of the Athletes’ Village, which accommodated 17,000 competitors and officials and has since been converted into 3,000 new homes along with restaurants, shops and schools, will be harder to overcome," he concludes.

That said, there is a strong case to be made that the London 2012 Games legacy was largely and successfully delivered, irrespective of whether the Games will come back there or not. 

And making it is Ian Edmondson, who was a project manager working for the London 2012 bid team before becoming Head of Major Events at London and Parks, the economic development agency of the Mayor of London, during the Games.

Now an independent advisor on legacy and the evaluation of sports events, Edmondson told insidethegames:

"We were going to commit to building an Aquatics Centre whether we were successful in getting the Games or not, and there was a big design competition won by Zaha Hadid which produced an iconic venue.

"It was also obviously about committing to building a stadium - and the big question was about whether it should have permanent use for athletics built into it or not, and keeping that use was always a key part of the vision of the legacy for the Games.

"And there was the Velodrome planned on the site of the outdoor closed road circuit for cycling that Bradley Wiggins had already trained on.

"So we were potentially having three new arenas - the rest would only be temporary. Those were all commitments in the Candidate File when it was submitted in November 2004. And then we showed the International Olympic Committee people the Park, and then the Games were won.

"The Olympic Delivery Agency got its budget and then we started to transition to create the Olympic Park Legacy Company.

"The big challenge post-Games was who would be the tenants in the permanent venues - who would be opening the doors and cleaning the toilets for those facilities.

"It was a bit more straightforward for the Aquatics Centre and the Velodrome. They always had strong partners. 

"In the case of the Velodrome it was the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority and in the case of the Aquatics Centre a tender process led to the appointment of the Trust that was given charge of the venue.

The London Olympic Stadium is now used by Premier League football club West Ham United ©Getty Images
The London Olympic Stadium is now used by Premier League football club West Ham United ©Getty Images

"Then it came down to the main Olympic Stadium. At the end of the day it was quite a good conclusion. It’s been used regularly. There are big concerts held there regularly. There is regular use by West Ham, who have gained a lot more season ticket holders as their new stadium is far larger than their old one at Upton Park.

"Athletics has been able to get in to hold Diamond Leagues, and the Anniversary Games, and the highly successful 2017 World Championships.

"All infrastructure on the Park, all the 2012 venues, comes at a cost. There is always a cost to the public purse in running built infrastructure.

"But in the balance of what we are left with and whether we have created an environment which citizens both local and throughout London use generally, I think London 2012 delivered on its promises. There are not many things that haven’t gone well from the London 2012 point of view."

Edmondson added that the use of the Park has gone beyond anything envisaged at the time of the Games:

"We have ABBA performing digitally at a temporary venue in the Park until May of next year. 

"The Victoria & Albert Museum has outgrown its old building and will soon be coming to the Park as its new home. 

"Meanwhile University College, London has announced plans to build a massive campus next year next to the Orbit."

Ten years on, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is still a happening place…