Watching the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia from afar, we are catching a glimpse of what Birmingham can expect in four years time.
We may not have the sun-drenched beaches of the Gold Coast, but the backdrops of Brindleyplace, Victoria Square and Perry Park during a (hopefully) decent August in 2022 will be just as impressive to the world’s TV audiences if we get it right.
And now the fact Birmingham has secured a major global event is finally sinking in after decades of failure playing second fiddle to other cities.
The city as whole – the Labour council, its West Midlands neighbours, universities, sports leaders, exhibition centres, business groups, the Conservative mayor and the Government – all joined forces to make the bid.
They dared to be ambitious and it is paying off. For the first time Birmingham was not left looking forlorn as the prize went elsewhere.
We want this city to be a success, we want it be the global player it once was and, most important of all, we want the £450 million investment the Government put on the table to come here to create jobs, infrastructure and opportunities.
Already this week Prime Minister Theresa May visited the Alexandra Stadium to announce a massive £70 million investment to bring it up to world-class standards for the Games.
But that is not enough for some naysayers. Instead there are commentators who know the cost of everything and value of nothing.
They go on Twitter to talk of a ‘jolly’ because the region, including the Lord Mayor, West Midlands Mayor and West Midlands Police chief constable, have sent a delegation to the Gold Coast to find out how the Games work.
There might be questions about the scale of that delegation, but it is necessary.
If Birmingham is going to make a success of 2022, the organisers need to see how the Australians have handled it, what works, what doesn’t and what they can improve on.
The University of Birmingham’s sporting director Zena Wooldridge watched the hockey, which her campus will be hosting in 2022.
She said she has learned about the sheer space needed to give spectators a good experience. Others have been checking security arrangements, how to deal with worldwide media demands, the athletes’ village facilities and the spectator experience.
Others have been checking security arrangements, how to deal with worldwide media demands, the athletes village facilities and the spectator experience.
Members of the delegation are also meeting local business representatives in Brisbane nearby to talk up investment opportunities in the West Midlands.
There is a reason these events have special observer programmes - so future hosts and bidders can see what’s required.
That is why last year Birmingham commissioned consultants like Sir Keith Mills and Debbie Jevons - organisers of the London Olympics and 2015 Rugby World Cup - to ensure the Birmingham bid stacked up.
But the naysayers tiresome cry why not spend the £10,000 being shelled out by West Midlands Police for their five strong delegation on the homeless.
But cancelling the Commonwealth Games, and returning the money spent on a few air fares and hotel bills, is not going to solve the homeless problem is it?
However the 1,000 plus homes soon to be built in Perry Barr as a direct result of securing the Games will do more to help the housing situation than saving money spent on a few air fares and hotel bills.
Great ambassadors for city
The first big sign that Birmingham 2022 is coming will be when the Lord Mayor Anne Underwood receives the Commonwealth flag during the closing ceremony in the Gold Coast Stadium on Sunday.
And this week we got a glimpse behind the scenes at some of the rehearsals for the Birmingham performance.
Hundreds of 16-25 year-old dancers and singers will be involved in a chorus of ELO’s Mr Blue Sky.
While the young artists who will be performing - rapper Lady Sanity, film maker Daniel Alexander, poet Amerah Saleh and dancer Celine Gittens - were introduced to the media.
They were not only clearly talented but proved to be confident and enthusiastic.
They will make great ambassadors for our city.