The London Games will have a "special place in the history of the Olympics", a powerful International Olympic Committee (IOC) official said on Thursday.
Denis Oswald, chairman of the IOC's Coordination Commission, said three days before the closing ceremony that officials and spectators had been delighted by their experience in London, but that the competitors were happiest of all.
"The Games have been made for the athletes. I have spoken to many athletes as well, the village is excellent... but our athletes are very happy about the Games as well," Oswald told a press conference.
"Therefore I am sure these Games will remain with a special place in the history of the Olympics."
Oswald praised the organisers for putting the spectators at the heart of the Games -- and said the British spectators had responded by cheering on all of the competitors, not just the home athletes.
"They like sport, they love sport, and this reminded me of the spirit we had in the Lillehammer (Winter) Games when the Norwegian people were enthusiastic for sport - for their own team but also for the other athletes as well when they were competing well."
London is the first city to host an Olympic Games three times. It previously staged the Games in 1909 and 1948.