Johnson also lavished special praise on Lord Coe, who led the city’s bid to stage the event and then chaired its organising committee, for his key role in a hugely successful 16 days.
His comments came as athletes and foreign media united in their appreciation for the London Olympics, in which Great Britain emphatically surpassed expectations in both medal tally and organisation.
“If you were to say we have just held the greatest Games ever in Britain, I would say you are on the right track,” said Johnson, who admitted to sadness at passing on the Olympic flag during Sunday’s closing ceremony.
“I did feel a momentary mad desire last night not to give [International Olympic Committee president] Jacques Rogge that flag. I almost yanked it back. But there are two emotions: one is sadness that it’s all over, but also great relief because it’s been a prodigious exertion by London and by Londoners.”
Perhaps the most profound compliments came from Australian commentators, who declared London 2012 better than the celebrated Sydney 2000 Games. “It is, I’m afraid to say,” wrote the Australian newspaper, “silver for Sydney and gold for London.”
Johnson, who mimicked British double gold winner Mo Farah’s trademark “Mobot” celebration, handed credit to Coe, who he said had masterminded “the most extraordinary event we can remember in our lifetimes and which we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.”
LONDON 2012 women’s shot-put champion Nadzeya Ostapchuk has been stripped of her gold medal after the Belarusian failed a drugs test. Ostapchuk, who won bronze at Beijing in 2008, tested positive for the banned steroid metenolone in two urine samples, meaning New Zealand’s Valerie Adams is promoted from the silver medal position. It is the first doping violation at the London Olympics to affect medal positions.