London 2012 Olympics close with spectacular ceremony

 

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

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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.

 

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 589.

    Alan
    What an amazing climax to a fantastic, well organised event. The lighting, imagery and orginality of the opening and closing ceremony showcased the greatest Olympics every. It was great that the incredible volunteers were acknowledged as they made my trip to Olympics special.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 588.

    Sounds like most people thought it was arty farty, trashy X factor rubbish, a bit like an aged relative going through a personal crisis in public...........
    How many of the stars were drawing pensions? It reminded me of the 1960s and 70s tv in Belgium etc where they had old farts in wigs and tans acting like teenagers, oh sorry to the WHO and Queen!
    No more PLEASE!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 587.

    "Sidney Monroe
    Humourless insults from dogma-ridden lefty bores. And exploding dummies re-inacting the cover of 'Wish You Were Here' on a tightrope."

    That might be what you object to but others seem to object to the cost and yet others that "dogma-ridden lefty bores" objected to the outpouring of patriotism. You can't all be right, can you?

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 586.

    I love sport is good 4 health of nations, love entertainment good for the soul, prob4me is, the whole events been hijacked, the sport was good enough, we don't need to posture about how great UK is, it's 2012 not 1946? The Greenest Olympics? but look at the sponsors £70M each and terrible social and environmental record? Take That...Rule the world??? Tell me what u want? consumerism at it's worst

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 585.

    Whilst I thought the whole thing was great, the closing ceremony shoulnd't have included Russell Brand, a talentless nobody who's weird antics and foul behaviour are hardly things we would want the world to know us for. But then at least there was no awful Paul Mccartney so that was a plus.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 584.

    If negativity was an energy source, we'd have an endless supply from all these comments!!! Jeez lighten up people - it was great from start to finish!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 583.

    Unfortunately, this probably *is* an accurate representation of mainstream Britain today, which is probably why I have great difficulty feeling much pride in 'my' country in the way 'we' have been reported as doing over the last fortnight. That is not to begrudge the athletes their success or the real job generally well done, but there is much about the real Britain that never got a look in.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 582.

    As a concert, a party for all the competitors, it was brilliant.

    This was a time when they could celebrate together.

    It was not meant to be theatre, the closing ceremony was a time to ease the farewells.

    It succeeded

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 581.

    @555.Typical_English_No8
    "would have been nice to have seen Jenson and Lewis doing a few laps in thier their Mclaren's last night. Would have been nice to include our 2 most recent world champions after all!"

    Why bother? There were hundreds of world champions in the stadium already. And they're all far more interesting to watch than a tedious procession of cars around a track.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 580.

    So, now that it's all over. In hindsight, was that really worth a quarter of the NHS budget?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 579.

    I thought the athletes did a great job and the opening/closing ceremonies were fine, please get rid of the Spice Women though.
    I do feel that £9 bn+ could have been better used to pull an awful lot of children out of poverty. Somehow it would appear our priorities are not quite right.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 578.

    I'm getting a little fed up with all of this "the Olympics are over" stuff. They're not - there's still another two weeks to come. The difference is that the athletes have to be strong enough to deal with significant physical difficulties as well as their training.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 577.

    It's a shame everyone's back to moaning again so soon after the finish.

    While the opening ceremony was for the world, this one was for the athletes and volunteers, and they looked like they were having a great time. They earned it.

  • rate this
    -6

    Comment number 576.

    Hitler said that the sheeple would be more prone to take a big lie rather then a small one.
    This tacky ( Labour ) like rub their noses in it rally of brain wash dumb-down ( guide them down the correct political channels was
    a perfectly coordinated propaganda exercise which J.Goebbels would have been proud of and the BBC played to their sycophantic best.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 575.

    Did not bother to watch the closing ceremony as I heard it was just pop stuff. From what little I saw it seems a wise decision. "Highlights" looked utterly third rate. Disappointing end to a good two weeks.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 574.

    My 20 year old kids noted that the athletes were their age, but the ceremony managers were my age, hence the 60s, 70s, 80s music but not so much modern. Watching when and to what extent the athletes joined in was a give away. I love Wish You Were Here, but it was wrong time, wrong place.
    Still, pretty good overall though. Loved the Union Flag idea.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 573.

    £300million for each gold medal. Outrageous.

    So in simplistic terms GB needs to secure a £3000million contract that pays 10% profit for each and every gold medal, just to break even.

    OK coe, go for it.

    Be sure to let us know when you have paid for just one medal.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 572.

    I LOVE THE OLYMPICS IT WAS VERY GOOD AND I AM VERY HAPPY THAT WE ALL DID VERY GOOD

  • rate this
    +49

    Comment number 571.

    "Imagine" offensive to people of faith Hazel? Can people of faith not accept that some people don't agree with them? Most atheists seem to accept and respect the frankly bizarre, irrational and weirdly diverse belief systems the religions of the world offer without moaning about it. Incidentally Lennon was an atheist and a pacifist. How many professed "people of faith" are quite the opposite?

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 570.

    Well here we go again!! What is it with this country.... We organise the biggest uplifting national event in god knows how many years and all I'm hearing from the great british public is moaning, As far as I'm concerned, that glass isn't half empty or half full it's overflowing!!! London 2012 was a fantastic event from start to finish well done all involved, especially the Volunteers!

 

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