The early returns are in. Britain's biggest winner from the London Games may not be an athlete, but the city's mop-haired, brilliantly bumbling mayor, Boris Johnson.
Long seen in some Conservative Party quarters as a badly concealed oddball, Johnson's political star is soaring amid the Olympic limelight. His loose-cannon loquaciousness is popping up everywhere as he offers self-deprecating jokes alongside bikini-clad volleyballers and at Queen Elizabeth's side as she tours Olympic venues.
His unique mix of qualities -- simultaneously posh and unpolished, capable of mind-boggling erudition one moment and the most crowd-pleasing barb the next -- seems to be touching a popular nerve.
The right-wing Mail on Sunday is lauding Johnson as the ultimate political exemplar of "a nation unafraid to take risks or laugh at itself." The left-wing Independent sees "the beginnings of a Churchillian stature" in Johnson and credits him with "the size of personality that is waiting for a crisis that will summon him to greatness."
And the Independent even carried a poll Monday among Conservative members identifying Boris as the party's most attractive successor to the incumbent prime minister, David Cameron.
-- Shawn Pogatchnik -- Twitter http://twitter.com/ShawnPogatchnik
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