Paralympians have more of the Right Stuff than anyone on Earth

That’s what transfixed my family and hundreds of millions of others. We were watching human beings overcome what we had always assumed was a basic limitation of our species to break a barrier that was physically or psychologically insurmountable. We were watching a triumph of the human spirit — and that, of course, is exactly why so many people are getting ready to enjoy this week’s Paralympic Games.

Not since the Paralympic movement began in 1948 has there been such a rush for tickets. Of the total of 2.4 million, there are only 200,000 still to be sold, and they are being snapped up as fast as Olympic tickets were — as fast as Locog can put them on to the website. We are getting ready for live sites in Trafalgar Square and Potters Fields, and Channel 4 is going to be running 150 hours of prime-time television. The International Paralympic Committee say they have never seen such interest and enthusiasm from any public. Without counting our chickens, we are confident that London will complete the success of the summer of 2012, and put on a wonderful Paralympic Games.

There will be prodigious displays of sporting excellence (for my money, wheelchair basketball is far better and more murderous than the other type). Indeed, there are some purists who say that we shouldn’t really be talking about the “back stories” of these amazing performers. They argue that we should simply see them as athletes, and blot out the difficulties they overcome. I hope I will be forgiven if I say I can’t see it like that. All athletes have a back story. Every athlete has had a barrier to surmount.

Is it relevant to our appreciation of Laura Trott that she was born with a collapsed lung? Too right it is. There isn’t a sportsman or woman alive who hasn’t at some time or other been called upon to show inner steel, and the Paralympians have had to overcome adversity in a way that is mesmerising, heartbreaking and inspiring. There are men and women who have been told by their doctors that they are beyond hope, who have been left for dead, who have come back from terrible accidents or injuries. These are people who have so comprehensively vanquished disability that they are defined by what they can do rather than what they can’t do. When Oscar Pistorius was a baby, his mother wrote him a letter that she intended for him to read as an adult. “The real loser is never the person who crosses the finishing line last,” she told him. “The real loser is the person who sits on the side, and does not even try to compete.”

Oscar Pistorius, who has no legs below the knee, is now one of the fastest men in the world. These people have The Right Stuff by the bucketload, exploding from every pore. When we watch them, we see the same phenomenon that drew the world round the TV set in 1969. It is the human urge to try, to risk, to dare, to master our fear and dive in; and then to keep doing the same until we succeed.

We admire that spirit in some deep and probably primeval way. It is, after all, the same competitive spark that produced just about every example of social, cultural, material and economic progress in the past 10,000 years. It was the spirit that drove Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis in those amazing and unforgettable Olympics of earlier this month. It was what got Neil Armstrong on to that Gemini programme, into the lunar module and on to the surface of the Moon.

It’s The Right Stuff, and the Paralympians have more of it than just about anyone else in the world.

Boris Johnson leads the way in support of gay marriage

The Out4marriage campaign is calling on laws to be changed to allow gay couples to marry.

According to their website there will be YouTube posts from politicians, from all political parties, and celebrities who support the campaign.

Yesterday Mr Johnson was joined Theresa May, the Home Secretary, and Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, in recording a message for the campaign.

His online post was made as David Cameron faces a revolt from within his party over whether to bring in new laws legalising gay marriage.

Dozens of Conservative MPs are expected to vote with their consciences against the proposals, with many objecting on religious grounds.

Boris Johnson tells David Cameron to ‘stop pussyfooting around’ and fix the economy

Calling on his rival to be more "ambitious" on the economy, the Mayor said in an interview with the London Evening Standard: “The Government needs to stop pussyfooting around.

"The way to get business really motoring in the UK is to cut taxes, cut regulation, create the infrastructure and get behind it. That’s what you should do.

"There’s a real opportunity to capitalise on the Olympics. [To] look at London as the motor that can drive growth.

“This is the time to be ambitious about London and what it can do for Britain. One of the ways of doing that would be to commit to further infrastructure — Crossrail 2, more river crossings, a massive house building programme for the city.”

Last month, the Government delayed the publication of a consultation into the future of Britain's airports, amid reports that Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, was opposed to the building of a third runway at Heathrow, the option thought to be favoured by Mr Cameron and George Osborne, the Chancellor.

Mr Johnson, who wants to see a new airport built in the Thames to help relieve London's overstretched terminals, described the delay as "totally mad".

Claiming that Mr Osborne is "actually very much up for big ideas like this," and that Miss Greening "gets" the idea for a new four-runway airport, dubbed "Boris Island,", he said the Prime Minister had yet to be convinced, blaming the "institutional inertia of the Government."

"Heathrow is fundamentally not the place" for further expansion," Mr Johnson added. “I think there’s a bit of institutional capture. But it’s a totally blind alley.

“The attempt to try and long-grass it for three years into the other side of the election is just not realistic. Totally mad and it won’t work.”

The Mayor disclosed that Mr Cameron had grabbed him in a bear hug while they posed for photographs during the Games – leading Mr Johnson to grasp the opportunity to hiss in the Prime Minister's ear: "airport."

And he called on the Government to take advantage of the Olympics to cement London's place in the world.

He said: “I think that what the Olympics has done is to confirm in a lot of people’s minds around the world that London is the capital of the planet. What I think the Government should do is make a very powerful statement of ambition for London.”

The poll of 547 Labour supporters by the website LabourList found that 51 per cent agreed with the statement that "Boris would be harder to beat than Cameron," with 22 per cent disagreeing and a further 22 per cent saying it would make no difference.

Boris Johnson does ‘the Mobot’

Boris Johnson was taking part in a post-Olympic Games press conference with Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt and London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe when they were asked to perform the 'Mobot' as a tribute to double-gold winning athlete Mo Farrah.

Lord Coe refused to take part, replying "I think not". Mr Hunt also declined. It was left to Mr Johnson to respond to the request and he gamely performed the famous 'M' sign above his head.

The London Mayor also faced further questions about his political future after the success of the London Olympic Games helped make him the favourite to succeed David Cameron as Conservative party leader. Meanwhile Lord Coe was asked whether he would run for Mayor of London.

Both rejected the suggestions.

Boris Johnson and Arnold Schwarzenegger ride London’s new cable car

Boris Johnson found himself suspended beneath another wire on Sunday afternoon - but this time managed not to get stranded in mid-air as he took Arnold Schwarzenegger for a cable car ride across the Thames.

The former California governor and Hollywood film star, in the capital to promote latest film The Expendables 2, took the recently-opened service with the London Mayor after watching the US 'Dream Team' win basketball gold.

He was keen to try out the service, which opened in June and has been carrying an average of 20,000 passengers a day during the Games, as it was built by a firm from his native Austria.

Mr Johnson joked last week that no-one would vote for "a prat who gets stuck in a zip wire" after a publicity stunt ended with him dangling above a London park waving Union Jacks as he awaited rescue.

Mr Schwarzenegger said: "I love coming to London and the energy here right now is amazing.

"The Olympics have been thrilling to watch, and the city has really stepped up to the plate to highlight the greatness of athletic spirit."

London 2012 Olympics: London and Team GB – take a bow. You’ve dazzled the world

The opening ceremony, by common consent, was the best in memory. The London volunteers have been utterly tireless and infectious in their enthusiasm; the venues have shuddered to the noise of the crowd, skilfully whipped to fresh pitches of excitement by the masters of ceremonies. Across London there has been a happy maelstrom of parties and celebration, of a kind that they tell me was to be found in Sydney – except that in London it has been everywhere, and not just in the centre. Yesterday I cycled down the canal towpath to the Olympic Park, through Hackney; and everywhere I looked there were scenes of riparian merriment of the kind you expect to see at the Henley regatta. The reason for this outpouring of joy is very simple, and it is not just that people are conscious that this country has put on a great show.

It is the Team GB athletes who have stunned us, and the rest of the world, with their astonishing haul of gongs. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that British athletes would end up with 29 gold medals, or that Team GB would be in third place behind America and China. We have not only dwarfed the Beijing tally. We have decisively laid to rest the ghost of 1948, when we last hosted the Games in London, and an undernourished and exhausted British team could barely scrape together three gold medals, and came 12th – even though Russia and Germany did not even turn up.

As everyone now knows, this is the biggest British medal total since 1908, when we featured events such as live pigeon-shooting and a tug of war. But not everyone perhaps appreciates that in 1908 we did not exactly behave in a spirit of undiluted sportsmanship and fair play. Seizing host-nation advantage, the British more or less eliminated much of the American competition by forcing them into the same heats; and as for the famous victory in the tug of war – which went to the City of London police – it pains me to relate that the police were allowed to dig in with their hobnailed boots, while the American finalists were left to scrabble desperately for purchase with their plimsolls. They protested at the unfairness of proceedings – to no avail.

This time it is different. In 2012, Team GB has been sporting, generous to their opponents, and propelled by no stimulant more sinister than McDonald’s and Coca-Cola; and yet they have won far more gold medals per capita than their closest rival teams from America, China and Russia. It is a staggering performance, a tribute to the athletes and all who have helped them on the way.

As we marvel at what they have done, and the general success of the Games so far, I want to issue a general word of caution to the Olympo-sceptics, who will be itching to return to their gripes. They will say there will be no increase in sporting participation, and no economic benefits, and that we will not succeed in regenerating east London. Well, just remember one thing, everyone. These Olympo-sceptics were proved decisively wrong about the Games. They will be proved wrong about the legacy as well. These Games have not changed us. They have revealed us as we are: people who can pull off great feats.

London has put on a dazzling face to the global audience. For the first time since the end of the empire, it truly feels like the capital of the world.

Boris Johnson tells David Cameron to ‘go for growth’ to harness Olympic legacy

“They need to go further,” Mr Johnson said of the Government. “They need a series of supply-side reforms. London really can be the motor of our economic recovery.”

The Mayor’s words echo the concerns of other leading lights of the Conservative Party. Many of the party’s Right wing – including Liam Fox, the former defence secretary - feel that the chancellor, George Osborne, and his fellow ministers are failing to deliver the business-friendly policies vital to power our debt-laden economy out of recession.

The Institute of Directors, a leading business lobby group has also attacked the “glacial speed” of Coalition’s reforms designed to encourage firms to hire and invest.

It is a claim denied by Coalition ministers including William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, who has argued that the Government has done a great deal to help the economy and that it’s up to businesses and individuals to get out there and make the recovery happen.

Stung by criticism that Government is not doing enough on growth, ministers are drawing up an economic regeneration bill for the autumn that will outline a range of new infrastructure projects and measures to cut business red tape.

Sorting out the congestion above London’s skies is a priority, the Mayor said.

“We need a new airport – whether it is in the Thames estuary or wherever, I don’t care. But we need to address that problem. An extra runway at Heathrow alone won’t do it – it would be full in a flash.”

Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, was supposed to publish a new consultation document setting out the Government’s aviation strategy by mid-July, but this has been shelved until the autumn.

The delays are infuriating many in the business community keen to land deals in fast-growing emerging markets.

Mr Johnson also wants more river crossings in London, extra money to extend to tube lines and “Crossrail II”. The first of these new underground railways running beneath London is set to be completed in 2017.

As soon as the first Crossrail opens he wants work to begin on a second new line, running between Chelsea in the west and Hackney in the east.

The Mayor said more needs to be done and quickly to streamline Britain’s planning system to pave the way for a housing boom.

Earlier this year the Government published its National Planning Policy Framework which aimed to make it is easier for developers to build houses, but official figures suggest house building remains subdued.

“We need to build hundreds of thousands of new homes. If we invest in a huge building programme, put in a lot of public sector land, de-risk it for the developers and get the construction sector going again it will start to drive the economy.”

There is already a serious housing shortage in parts of London, but this situation could become acute by the next decade when London is expected to surpass New York as the world city with the highest population.

“London’s population is going to reach 9 million in the next decade,” he said. “People should not be paranoid about this – we are only now getting up to the levels reached in 1939 or 1911. There is room for great regeneration in the east.”

However, there needs to be jobs for this burgeoning population and the Mayor also insisted the Coalition must do more to make it easier for firms to hire and fire, especially for businesses with five workers or less.

Many on the Right of the Conservative Party remain dismayed that the Government failed to implement many bold recommendations made by the financier Adrian Beecroft in a Downing Street report on employment law reform.

In the last few weeks around 4,000 businessmen, foreign officials and other potential investors have shuffled into the Mayor’s Thameside offices where he has sold rundown parts of the capital – including Battersea Power Station, Brent Cross, Croydon and Tottenham – as lucrative investment opportunities.

The digital businesses Facebook and Amazon are set to create new jobs in the capital over the coming months, but only time will tell if more follow.

The critics may have fallen silent while Team GB was winning gold medals, but once the games end tonight the questions about their legacy will begin.

The futures of two of the Olympic Park’s venues – including the stadium – remain undecided.

Mr Johnson was typically bullish about the prospect of future Olympic champions learning their skills in the aquatic centre. Again, only time will tell if these grand building remain largely unused in the future.

Mr Johnson also spoke vigorously about the army of “games makers”, thousands of volunteers who have sprung to life across the City.

He sees these people as the embodiment of Mr Cameron’s Big Society. The London games apparently has a far higher retention rate of these volunteers than previous Olympic cities. Will these people remain on hand to encourage young Londoners to take up sport?

Of course, it will be years before it will be possible to say whether the 2012 games’ legacy was a success, by which time Mr Johnson will be doing a very different job. Conservative party leader or even Prime Minister, perhaps?

“Nonsense,” he roared in response to recent speculation that he is destined to replace Mr Cameron. “No serious student of politics could possible think that would happen.”

But they certainly do and the London Mayor knows full well that his part in these memorable Olympics will ensure such speculation will continue.

He said he will not contest a third term as London mayor, but was uncharacteristically pianissimo when asked about what he plans to do after the 2016 election.

He dismissed the current tensions within the Coalition as “classic midtermery” and can’t resist joking that the Games helpfully presented “a very good moment” to discreetly ditch House of Lords reform - something he sounds about as enthusiastic about as a spin on the Olympic BMX track.

He described his past two weeks as a “Himalayan range of exciting peaks”. “I’ve been on my feet absolutely yelling,” he said.

“I’d never been to a velodrome before. That was great. That sort of ritual the cyclists do like mating pigeons waggling their bottoms – I love it.”

That’s not to say he doesn’t have a few regrets about the past couple of weeks.

“I won’t be trying to get on a zip wire again in a hurry,” he puffs, recalling the well-publicised gaffe which saw the accident-prone London mayor suspended high above a London park.

“Although in a way that was successful – it massively increased the popularity of the Victoria Park zip wire from a very low base.”

He also seemed abashed that one of his savvy media advisors “quashed” a guest appearance in Twenty Twelve, the BBC spoof documentary about the London Olympics’ organisers.

Was there in any truth in the show’s depiction of a gaggle of bumbling bureaucrats, some of whom seemed to be competing for a gold medal in political correctness?

“Oh it was absolutely truthful. The endless conversations about inclusivity, sustainability, multiculturality, posterity…”.

He then erupted into giggles. “We had a lot of that. And the makers seemed to know some things that we were doing that weren’t public. But there will be no mole hunt.”

He used a typical “BoJo” turn of phrase to describe a meeting with Laura Trott, the double gold medal winning poster girl of cycling - a phrase which given his well-documtened personal life suggests he is still willing to sail close to the wind despite the added profile the Olympics.

“I’ve got a date with Laura Trott,” he said of the 20-year-old gold medal-winning cyclist who has agreed to front an annual London two-day festival of cycling, the first of which is set to take place next summer.

“She’s going to teach me how to ride one of those carbon fibre bikes. I watched her win the Omnium – wow. She is like a whippet. And you meet her and she’s tiny.

"You can’t understand where the speed comes from. And she’s very charming, blonde and all the rest of it.”

Charming, blond, all the rest of it - now who else could that be?

Boris Johnson tells David Cameron to ‘go for growth’ to harness Olympic legacy

“They need to go further,” Mr Johnson said of the Government. “They need a series of supply-side reforms. London really can be the motor of our economic recovery.”

The Mayor’s words echo the concerns of other leading lights of the Conservative Party. Many of the party’s Right wing – including Liam Fox, the former defence secretary - feel that the chancellor, George Osborne, and his fellow ministers are failing to deliver the business-friendly policies vital to power our debt-laden economy out of recession.

The Institute of Directors, a leading business lobby group has also attacked the “glacial speed” of Coalition’s reforms designed to encourage firms to hire and invest.

It is a claim denied by Coalition ministers including William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, who has argued that the Government has done a great deal to help the economy and that it’s up to businesses and individuals to get out there and make the recovery happen.

Stung by criticism that Government is not doing enough on growth, ministers are drawing up an economic regeneration bill for the autumn that will outline a range of new infrastructure projects and measures to cut business red tape.

Sorting out the congestion above London’s skies is a priority, the Mayor said.

“We need a new airport – whether it is in the Thames estuary or wherever, I don’t care. But we need to address that problem. An extra runway at Heathrow alone won’t do it – it would be full in a flash.”

Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, was supposed to publish a new consultation document setting out the Government’s aviation strategy by mid-July, but this has been shelved until the autumn.

The delays are infuriating many in the business community keen to land deals in fast-growing emerging markets.

Mr Johnson also wants more river crossings in London, extra money to extend to tube lines and “Crossrail II”. The first of these new underground railways running beneath London is set to be completed in 2017.

As soon as the first Crossrail opens he wants work to begin on a second new line, running between Chelsea in the west and Hackney in the east.

The Mayor said more needs to be done and quickly to streamline Britain’s planning system to pave the way for a housing boom.

Earlier this year the Government published its National Planning Policy Framework which aimed to make it is easier for developers to build houses, but official figures suggest house building remains subdued.

“We need to build hundreds of thousands of new homes. If we invest in a huge building programme, put in a lot of public sector land, de-risk it for the developers and get the construction sector going again it will start to drive the economy.”

There is already a serious housing shortage in parts of London, but this situation could become acute by the next decade when London is expected to surpass New York as the world city with the highest population.

“London’s population is going to reach 9 million in the next decade,” he said. “People should not be paranoid about this – we are only now getting up to the levels reached in 1939 or 1911. There is room for great regeneration in the east.”

However, there needs to be jobs for this burgeoning population and the Mayor also insisted the Coalition must do more to make it easier for firms to hire and fire, especially for businesses with five workers or less.

Many on the Right of the Conservative Party remain dismayed that the Government failed to implement many bold recommendations made by the financier Adrian Beecroft in a Downing Street report on employment law reform.

In the last few weeks around 4,000 businessmen, foreign officials and other potential investors have shuffled into the Mayor’s Thameside offices where he has sold rundown parts of the capital – including Battersea Power Station, Brent Cross, Croydon and Tottenham – as lucrative investment opportunities.

The digital businesses Facebook and Amazon are set to create new jobs in the capital over the coming months, but only time will tell if more follow.

The critics may have fallen silent while Team GB was winning gold medals, but once the games end tonight the questions about their legacy will begin.

The futures of two of the Olympic Park’s venues – including the stadium – remain undecided.

Mr Johnson was typically bullish about the prospect of future Olympic champions learning their skills in the aquatic centre. Again, only time will tell if these grand building remain largely unused in the future.

Mr Johnson also spoke vigorously about the army of “games makers”, thousands of volunteers who have sprung to life across the City.

He sees these people as the embodiment of Mr Cameron’s Big Society. The London games apparently has a far higher retention rate of these volunteers than previous Olympic cities. Will these people remain on hand to encourage young Londoners to take up sport?

Of course, it will be years before it will be possible to say whether the 2012 games’ legacy was a success, by which time Mr Johnson will be doing a very different job. Conservative party leader or even Prime Minister, perhaps?

“Nonsense,” he roared in response to recent speculation that he is destined to replace Mr Cameron. “No serious student of politics could possible think that would happen.”

But they certainly do and the London Mayor knows full well that his part in these memorable Olympics will ensure such speculation will continue.

He said he will not contest a third term as London mayor, but was uncharacteristically pianissimo when asked about what he plans to do after the 2016 election.

He dismissed the current tensions within the Coalition as “classic midtermery” and can’t resist joking that the Games helpfully presented “a very good moment” to discreetly ditch House of Lords reform - something he sounds about as enthusiastic about as a spin on the Olympic BMX track.

He described his past two weeks as a “Himalayan range of exciting peaks”. “I’ve been on my feet absolutely yelling,” he said.

“I’d never been to a velodrome before. That was great. That sort of ritual the cyclists do like mating pigeons waggling their bottoms – I love it.”

That’s not to say he doesn’t have a few regrets about the past couple of weeks.

“I won’t be trying to get on a zip wire again in a hurry,” he puffs, recalling the well-publicised gaffe which saw the accident-prone London mayor suspended high above a London park.

“Although in a way that was successful – it massively increased the popularity of the Victoria Park zip wire from a very low base.”

He also seemed abashed that one of his savvy media advisors “quashed” a guest appearance in Twenty Twelve, the BBC spoof documentary about the London Olympics’ organisers.

Was there in any truth in the show’s depiction of a gaggle of bumbling bureaucrats, some of whom seemed to be competing for a gold medal in political correctness?

“Oh it was absolutely truthful. The endless conversations about inclusivity, sustainability, multiculturality, posterity…”.

He then erupted into giggles. “We had a lot of that. And the makers seemed to know some things that we were doing that weren’t public. But there will be no mole hunt.”

He used a typical “BoJo” turn of phrase to describe a meeting with Laura Trott, the double gold medal winning poster girl of cycling - a phrase which given his well-documtened personal life suggests he is still willing to sail close to the wind despite the added profile the Olympics.

“I’ve got a date with Laura Trott,” he said of the 20-year-old gold medal-winning cyclist who has agreed to front an annual London two-day festival of cycling, the first of which is set to take place next summer.

“She’s going to teach me how to ride one of those carbon fibre bikes. I watched her win the Omnium – wow. She is like a whippet. And you meet her and she’s tiny.

"You can’t understand where the speed comes from. And she’s very charming, blonde and all the rest of it.”

Charming, blond, all the rest of it - now who else could that be?

Boris Johnson tells Cameron to ‘go for growth’ to harness Olympic legacy

“They need to go further,” Mr Johnson said of the Government. “They need a series of supply-side reforms. London really can be the motor of our economic recovery.”

The Mayor’s words echo the concerns of other leading lights of the Conservative Party. Many of the party’s Right wing – including Liam Fox, the former defence secretary - feel that the chancellor, George Osborne, and his fellow ministers are failing to deliver the business-friendly policies vital to power our debt-laden economy out of recession.

The Institute of Directors, a leading business lobby group has also attacked the “glacial speed” of Coalition’s reforms designed to encourage firms to hire and invest.

It is a claim denied by Coalition ministers including William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, who has argued that the Government has done a great deal to help the economy and that it’s up to businesses and individuals to get out there and make the recovery happen.

Stung by criticism that Government is not doing enough on growth, ministers are drawing up an economic regeneration bill for the autumn that will outline a range of new infrastructure projects and measures to cut business red tape.

Sorting out the congestion above London’s skies is a priority, the Mayor said.

“We need a new airport – whether it is in the Thames estuary or wherever, I don’t care. But we need to address that problem. An extra runway at Heathrow alone won’t do it – it would be full in a flash.”

Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, was supposed to publish a new consultation document setting out the Government’s aviation strategy by mid-July, but this has been shelved until the autumn.

The delays are infuriating many in the business community keen to land deals in fast-growing emerging markets.

Mr Johnson also wants more river crossings in London, extra money to extend to tube lines and “Crossrail II”. The first of these new underground railways running beneath London is set to be completed in 2017.

As soon as the first Crossrail opens he wants work to begin on a second new line, running between Chelsea in the west and Hackney in the east.

The Mayor said more needs to be done and quickly to streamline Britain’s planning system to pave the way for a housing boom.

Earlier this year the Government published its National Planning Policy Framework which aimed to make it is easier for developers to build houses, but official figures suggest house building remains subdued.

“We need to build hundreds of thousands of new homes. If we invest in a huge building programme, put in a lot of public sector land, de-risk it for the developers and get the construction sector going again it will start to drive the economy.”

There is already a serious housing shortage in parts of London, but this situation could become acute by the next decade when London is expected to surpass New York as the world city with the highest population.

“London’s population is going to reach 9 million in the next decade,” he said. “People should not be paranoid about this – we are only now getting up to the levels reached in 1939 or 1911. There is room for great regeneration in the east.”

However, there needs to be jobs for this burgeoning population and the Mayor also insisted the Coalition must do more to make it easier for firms to hire and fire, especially for businesses with five workers or less.

Many on the Right of the Conservative Party remain dismayed that the Government failed to implement many bold recommendations made by the financier Adrian Beecroft in a Downing Street report on employment law reform.

In the last few weeks around 4,000 businessmen, foreign officials and other potential investors have shuffled into the Mayor’s Thameside offices where he has sold rundown parts of the capital – including Battersea Power Station, Brent Cross, Croydon and Tottenham – as lucrative investment opportunities.

The digital businesses Facebook and Amazon are set to create new jobs in the capital over the coming months, but only time will tell if more follow.

The critics may have fallen silent while Team GB was winning gold medals, but once the games end tonight the questions about their legacy will begin.

The futures of two of the Olympic Park’s venues – including the stadium – remain undecided.

Mr Johnson was typically bullish about the prospect of future Olympic champions learning their skills in the aquatic centre. Again, only time will tell if these grand building remain largely unused in the future.

Mr Johnson also spoke vigorously about the army of “games makers”, thousands of volunteers who have sprung to life across the City.

He sees these people as the embodiment of Mr Cameron’s Big Society. The London games apparently has a far higher retention rate of these volunteers than previous Olympic cities. Will these people remain on hand to encourage young Londoners to take up sport?

Of course, it will be years before it will be possible to say whether the 2012 games’ legacy was a success, by which time Mr Johnson will be doing a very different job. Conservative party leader or even Prime Minister, perhaps?

“Nonsense,” he roared in response to recent speculation that he is destined to replace Mr Cameron. “No serious student of politics could possible think that would happen.”

But they certainly do and the London Mayor knows full well that his part in these memorable Olympics will ensure such speculation will continue.

He said he will not contest a third term as London mayor, but was uncharacteristically pianissimo when asked about what he plans to do after the 2016 election.

He dismissed the current tensions within the Coalition as “classic midtermery” and can’t resist joking that the Games helpfully presented “a very good moment” to discreetly ditch House of Lords reform - something he sounds about as enthusiastic about as a spin on the Olympic BMX track.

He described his past two weeks as a “Himalayan range of exciting peaks”. “I’ve been on my feet absolutely yelling,” he said.

“I’d never been to a velodrome before. That was great. That sort of ritual the cyclists do like mating pigeons waggling their bottoms – I love it.”

That’s not to say he doesn’t have a few regrets about the past couple of weeks.

“I won’t be trying to get on a zip wire again in a hurry,” he puffs, recalling the well-publicised gaffe which saw the accident-prone London mayor suspended high above a London park.

“Although in a way that was successful – it massively increased the popularity of the Victoria Park zip wire from a very low base.”

He also seemed abashed that one of his savvy media advisors “quashed” a guest appearance in Twenty Twelve, the BBC spoof documentary about the London Olympics’ organisers.

Was there in any truth in the show’s depiction of a gaggle of bumbling bureaucrats, some of whom seemed to be competing for a gold medal in political correctness?

“Oh it was absolutely truthful. The endless conversations about inclusivity, sustainability, multiculturality, posterity…”.

He then erupted into giggles. “We had a lot of that. And the makers seemed to know some things that we were doing that weren’t public. But there will be no mole hunt.”

He used a typical “BoJo” turn of phrase to describe a meeting with Laura Trott, the double gold medal winning poster girl of cycling - a phrase which given his well-documtened personal life suggests he is still willing to sail close to the wind despite the added profile the Olympics.

“I’ve got a date with Laura Trott,” he said of the 20-year-old gold medal-winning cyclist who has agreed to front an annual London two-day festival of cycling, the first of which is set to take place next summer.

“She’s going to teach me how to ride one of those carbon fibre bikes. I watched her win the Omnium – wow. She is like a whippet. And you meet her and she’s tiny.

"You can’t understand where the speed comes from. And she’s very charming, blonde and all the rest of it.”

Charming, blond, all the rest of it - now who else could that be?

Boris Johnson: give children two hours of sport a day

The Mayor, who went to Eton, said he wanted children to have the sort of compulsory sports regime he had at school.

"I would like to see, frankly, the kind of regime I used to enjoy - compulsory two hours sport every day... I've no doubt that is the sort of thing that would be wonderful for kids across this country.

"I think it is of profound importance for the happiness and success of this country that we have more sport in schools."