The London 2012 Games are set to reach a new record of a global audience of 4.8 billion, figures released by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) revealed. The number is up from 4.5 billion for the Beijing 2008 Games.
A global TV audience of two billion people watched Usain Bolt win the men’s 100m final on Sunday evening, while 20 million viewers in Britain watched the race - the biggest audience for the Games in Britain so far.
The previous day, more than 17 million people watched British athletes Jessica Ennis win gold in the women’s heptathlon and Mo Farah win gold in the Men’s 10 000m, and on Sunday, more than 10 million British viewers watched Andy Murray win gold in the Men’s Tennis final when he beat world number one Roger Federer of Switzerland in straight sets.
The Opening Ceremony set the tone, attracting a British TV audience of 26,9 million.
The support from the public has been overwhelming so far with the Olympic Stadium packed with more than 80 000 people on each day of the athletics events.
When Bolt won the 100m the roar of the crowd was measured at 103,7 decibels - louder than a plane taking off.
The support for British athletes has also been incredible. On August 4, which the British media dubbed ‘Super Saturday’, heptathlete Jessica Ennis, 10 000m athlete Mo Farah and long jumper Greg Rutherford all won gold medals.
The adulation for especially Ennis was palpable as a huge roar resounded through the stadium when she won the final event in the heptathlon, the 800m.
Farah, too, was a big hit with the crowd, after he won the men’s 10 000m racing away from world record holder Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia over the final lap. After Farah’s victory, his wife Tania and daughter Rihanna joined him on the track to celebrate and the next day their photos were all over the British papers.
The race to finish on top of the medals table is also developing into a fascinating two horse race between the United States and China, with the lead changing several times throughout the competition. At the last glance, China had gone ahead again with a total of 73 medals and 34 gold, while the USA was second with 70 medals and 30 gold.
Great Britain, meanwhile were lying third, having already eclipsed their record tally in the modern era which they achieved in 2008. In Beijing they won 19 gold and 47 medals in total, but after Tuesday evening’s events, they moved up to a total of 22 gold and 48 medals in total.
On Tuesday evening, track cyclist Sir Chris Hoy became Britain’s most successful Olympian in history when he won gold in the Keirin event in front of 6 000 delirious fans at the Velodrome.
The Games have been amazing so far and especially for the British, who have come out in full support with the Union Jack conspicuous wherever you go - on the underground, on the streets, in the shops and malls, and in the stadiums.