London 2012 Olympics close with spectacular ceremony


The London 2012 Olympics closing ceremony got off to a spectacular start

Related Stories

The London 2012 Olympics have ended with a spectacular musical closing ceremony and the official handover to the next host city, Rio de Janeiro.

The three-hour show featured some of the biggest names of British pop from decades past, including the Spice Girls, George Michael and Elbow.

Games chief Lord Coe said: "When our time came - Britain, we did it right."

The official Games flag was handed to the mayor of Rio before the flame at the Olympic Stadium was extinguished.

President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, who declared the Games of the 30th Olympiad closed just before midnight, said: "We will never forget the smiles, the kindness and the support of the wonderful volunteers, the much-needed heroes of these Games.

"You, the spectators and the public, provided the soundtrack for these Games.

"Your enthusiastic cheers energised its competitors and brought a festive spirit to every Olympic venue."

Best of British

At the close of the ceremony, watched by 10,000 athletes and 80,000 spectators in the stadium along with 26 million TV viewers, the flame was extinguished in dramatic fashion.

Each nation will receive one of the cauldron's 204 petals.

Spice Girls "Girl power" reigned over the Olympic Stadium as the Spice Girls performed

In other developments:

  • Nadzeya Ostapchuck, of Belarus, has been stripped of the gold medal in women's shot put after failing a drugs test. New Zealand's Valerie Adams has been promoted to first place
  • London airports expect to handle the departure of about 200,000 people a day this week as visitors leave following the Games. Some 120,000 are expected to leave Heathrow each day, with a further 70,000 set to fly from Gatwick
  • Private security firm G4S has donated £2.5m to the armed forces after troops had to stand in for its absent staff during the Olympics
  • Commentators from around the world have begun to reflect on the success of the Games, as have British observers.

On Sunday, at the closing ceremony, fireworks went off above the east London stadium, the Who performed My Generation and the venue was transformed into a sea of red, white and blue confetti.

The finale, which began with Big Ben chiming, paid tribute to UK music, fashion and culture.

At the scene

For a while yet, the British public can forget their Olympics are coming to an end - the light of the closing ceremony can take the edge off any sadness.

Artistic director Kim Gavin billed this as an unashamed after-show party. And it has been a pure and fairly straightforward celebration of the last 50 years of pop, with Elgar and Russell Brand thrown in.

Unlike the opening ceremony, it doesn't have to set any scene or make any statement for a coming event. So why not roll out some of the top acts - from Annie Lennox to One Direction, Spices added.

All in the presence of a mosh pit full of Olympian athletes and the Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, who have enjoyed these Games as much as the next sports fan.

Worrying about the Olympics being over? That's for another time.

Prince Harry represented the Queen at the ceremony, which took place on top of a stage in the shape of a union jack and saw a volunteer cast of 3,500.

The show saw the Spice Girls re-form to sing Spice Up Your Life from the top of five London taxis, and a surprise performance from Take That, who sang their hit Rule the World. It had been thought they would not appear because Gary Barlow was mourning the loss of his daughter who was delivered stillborn last Saturday.

Artistic Director Kim Gavin also brought together household names, including George Michael, Jessie J, Emeli Sande, Madness, the Pet Shop Boys, One Direction, Ray Davies and Liam Gallagher, as the best of British music went on show to the world.

During the ceremonial part of the show, the Olympic flag was waved aloft by London Mayor Boris Johnson and passed by Mr Rogge into the hands of the Mayor of Rio, Eduardo Paes.

The Brazilian national anthem rang out and the stadium was transformed into the green and yellow colours of Brazil's flag.

'Lit up the world'

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe told the audience: "Today sees the closing of a wonderful Games in a wonderful city.

Flag handover The Olympic flag was handed to the mayor of Rio

"We lit the flame and lit up the world."

The official handover also saw a celebration of Rio's mix of cultures, music and dance, bringing a carnival atmosphere to the proceedings.

Earlier, there was a riot of colour as the athletes entered the stadium, with four-time Olympic gold medallist sailor Ben Ainslie carrying the British flag and leading out Team GB.

The smiling athletes filled each section of the floor of the stadium, to the sound of Elbow playing their atmospheric hit, One Day Like This.

As is traditional during the closing ceremony, the final medals of the 2012 Olympics were handed out. On this occasion they went to the athletes in the men's marathon, which was won by Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich.

The 70,000 Games Maker volunteers were also thanked for their hard work during the 16 days of competition.

Home-grown fashion was celebrated with appearances from models Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, both wearing the creations of the late Alexander McQueen, while British eccentricity also featured, with comedian Russell Brand singing the Beatles' I am the Walrus from the top of a psychedelic bus.

London 2012 statistics

  • Team GB won 65 medals in 16 different sports
  • The US topped the medal table with 46 golds - their best performance in an overseas Games
  • There were 44 world records and 117 Olympic records during the 16 days
  • US swimmer Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time as he increased his career tally to 22 medals
  • Sir Chris Hoy became the most successful British Olympian ever, adding another two golds to his previous four

Comedian Eric Idle drew much laughter when he performed a typically quirky version of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, and Muse rocked the stadium with the official anthem of the Games, Survival.

The Games ended with the US topping the final medal table with 46 golds, followed by China with 38 golds. GB came third with 29 golds - their best tally since 1908.

The Queen earlier said Team GB's "outstanding" performance had "inspired" the country.

The last day saw a final - and 29th gold - for Team GB, with boxer Anthony Joshua winning his super-heavyweight bout.

In all, 44 world records have been set during London 2012, and 117 Olympic records broken.

Among those to have set new world bests included Kenyan David Rudisha in the men's 800m and the Jamaican sprint relay team, which included 100m and 200m gold medallist Usain Bolt.

Olympics coverage online

Olympics images

US swimmer Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian in history while cyclist Sir Chris Hoy's two gold medals meant he became the most successful British Olympian of all time.

Earlier, US President Barack Obama telephoned Prime Minister David Cameron to offer his congratulations for a "brilliant" London Olympics, Downing Street said.

On Sunday, crowds also packed London's Hyde Park to watch the sporting action on big screens and enjoy a farewell concert headlined by Blur.

The Paralympics is set to start on 29 August, with the revamped 560-acre (227-hectare) Olympic Park site - to be known as the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - then set to reopen from the first anniversary of the opening of the Games, on 27 July 2013.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 89.

    Have we learnt nothing from the positivity of the last two weeks?
    Please go somewhere else as I am still enjoying my country

    What you saw was an environment where governments are not allowed to interfere and where people get to realise their own full ambition and potential

    Outside the Olympic stadium lurks a world where you are not allowed to compete without permission from the government

  • rate this

    Comment number 88.


    What's it like being some much 'cleverer' and 'better' than the rest of us then?

    Why don't you just take your elitist nonsense somewhere else?

  • rate this

    Comment number 87.

    It was BRILLIANT ... every bit as good, although different to, the opening ceremony.

    What depresses me is the number of negative comments on here! Cheer up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 86.

    The games were a huge success around the world due in no small part to the fantastic coverage of the BBC. The BBC deserves a huge thank you. You did an amazing job!

  • rate this

    Comment number 85.

    Fanastic coverage BBC! I was in the UK for a few days during the Olympics and watched 6 days of your outstanding HD coverage on television and online. Once I left the UK, I was really missing the BBC's covereage, but I still read all your live text online and on BBC World News. 10/10 coverage overall, and I hope other broadcasters can learn how to successfully broadcast events like this from you!

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    Why empty seats again ? And what is that awful new British habit of walking out of events before they have finished. I've see it in cinemas, Circus, shows and other events. (Don't worry dears, you will get out of the car park eventually. You don't get Olympic medals for being out of the car park first !)

    Well done to the lighting designers. Top notch.

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    'twas akin to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, like some naff, camp, amateurish Saturday night variety show from the 70's, only minus the minstrels and Lionel Blair.

    An opportunity well and truley missed, shame on the perpeTraitors of this tacky dismal display.

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    With the entire world as a stage to showcase what we have led the world in for the best part of a century I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the sort of calibre and musical pedigree the rest of the globe can only dream of.

    Utter disappointment.

    A real shame after what can only be described as a 1st class Olympics that unified and galvanized a very beaten up nation..

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    Brilliant closing ceremony. A real party atmosphere. Much better than kids jumping on NHS beds in the opening ceremony. The tone was just right for the finale. Thanks to Yoko Ono “Imagine” a real scoop.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    A celebration of the fame culture, nothing more. Aside from a couple of sections-the male voice choir, the Imagine segement-the rest was just a series of vacuous self publicists, has-beens, wannabes and never-gonna-bes none of whom should be in the same city as the athletes let alone stadium. I want my kids heroes to be the athletes not George Michael with his criminal convictions and the rest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    Fantastic games with many memorable moments. Best bit of closing ceremony was the Brazilian part - it was generally way too long and could have finished after Take That and why was George Michael there?

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Fantastic show to end.

    Pity that, with the Olympics so anti-drugs, the closing ceremony seemed designed to laud drug-abusers.

    Don't we have enough 'clean' musicians to fill the time?

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    51. Geogteach
    "Have we learnt nothing from the positivity of the last two weeks?"
    Yes, we've learnt that we should celebrate hard work and talent and fantastic performance. This was mediocrity which should not be celebrated. Having out-of-tune singers was just embarrassing and totally let down the spectacular performance of our athletes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    For every ounce of brilliance that the opening ceremony had, the closing ceremony was dull and tedious in equal measure. What a let-down - deifnately the low-light of the entire Olympics. Why is the media not calling it what it was - a spectacular mess. What a shame we had to finish on that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    What colour was Ray Davies' hair? Sunset orange?

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    Closing ceremony good, BBC coverage poor. Watching in 3d meant suffering Paul Dickinson and Colin Jackson waffling on through the music. "The Spice Girls are on next", "I wonder who is coming on next" - it's the Spice Girls, you just told us that! - "let's count how many taxis there are"!

    Also showing athletes gurning for the cameras while the Brazilian anthem was playing was disrespectful.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    A night out in Essex maybe, but not a fitting closing ceremony. It was puerile rubbish! I assume we pitched it low so that Rio has even a vague chance of matching the rest of the London games.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    IOC: And the 2012 Olympics will be in.... London!

    London: Challenge... Accepted!

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.



Page 61 of 65


More UK stories



  • Nigel Farage (left) and Douglas CarswellWho's next?

    The Tory MPs being tipped to follow Carswell to UKIP

  • A painting of the White House on fire by Tom FreemanFinders keepers

    The odd objects looted by the British from Washington in 1814

  • President Barack Obama pauses during a press conference on 28 August.'No strategy'

    Obama's gaffe on Islamic State reveals political truth

  • Chris and Regina Catrambone with their daughter Maria LuisaSOS

    The millionaires who rescue people at sea

  • Plane7 days quiz

    What unusual offence got a Frenchman thrown off a plane?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.