IN the end, they just had to use David Beckham -- a decision which displeased as many people as it pleased but there was no doubting that the opening ceremony of the London Olympics was a spectacular affair.
In fact, it ranks with some of the best opening ceremonies ever and the move to use seven young athletes to light the cauldron was brilliant, considering that the tagline for the Games is "Inspire a Generation".
London, if not the whole of Britain, is desperate for the Games to leave a legacy and the opening ceremony, which cost a whopping RM145 million, was the first step in the right direction towards ensuring this happens.
Though London is the host, the Olympics belong to the world and the organisers did a fantastic job in trying to include as many current and former stars, including legendary boxer Muhammad Ali whose participation in the 1996 Atlanta Games left a lasting mark.
The buildup to Queen Elizabeth's entrance was spectacular as Daniel "James Bond" Craig looked set to parachute into the Olympic Stadium before being pushed aside by the Queen.
It was Hollywood at its best but made in Britain. Rowan "Mr Bean" Atkinson also had a part and his cameo in the famous Chariots of Fire scene was simply hilarious. Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins had a role to play, as well as rower Steve Redgrave, the five-time Olympic champion who most thought would light the cauldron.
Instead, Redgrave was given the honour of presenting the torch, which had travelled over 8,000km before landing in London, to the seven young athletes who represent the future of British sport.
Each was carefully chosen by seven British sporting legends based on their capabilities and achievements. Imagine the message that is sent to aspiring athletes the world over.
Yes, there is bitterness over the whopping RM45 billion that London spent on the Games but just like the Beckham situation, there are as many supporters as there are detractors.
Though the assertion that the money should have been spent on more pressing matters cannot be argued against, the Games have breathed new life into the British economy as job opportunities have been created for thousands.
Cab driver Hasan, a Somali, who has made London his home for the last seven years, said: "I fully support the Games and they have helped me supplement my income. Besides driving my cab, I am also employed on a part-time basis as a driver by the organising committee. I am paid STG150 (RM750) per day and this has helped me fund my studies. In fact, I plan on using the money to pursue my Masters."
The 25-year-old British permanent resident, who plans to move back to Somalia by 2020, said the money used for the Games is well spent as otherwise, it would have been wasted on other meaningless projects.
Bookstore owner Steve Blacken was also supportive of the Games. "Had it not been for London being awarded the Olympics, I doubt that Britain would be such a force in cycling. The sport has captured the imagination of Britons so much that cycling has become a national past time," he said.
Track cyclist Chris Hoy may have been the face of British cycling before but Wiggins' Tour de France triumph, the first ever by a Briton, has further fuelled the passion that this nation now has for cycling and all this, said Blacken, was only made possible by the increase in funding for the sport.
There was one thing though which the bookshop owner didn't agree with -- Beckham's role in the opening ceremony, but said he was willing to accept it as long as sport continues to thrive in Britain and he was confident London 2012 would ensure that.