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

    Comment number 669.

    Bobble,I don't usually watch the news as I find it so depressing,but for the last two weeks I have,thanks to it not being ALL bad news.I shall be switching off again now!

    The flame going out was so sad,back to normality now.Well done for a fantastic closing party and thanks for the wonderful memories.

  • rate this

    Comment number 668.

    @193. You've overdosed on the film 'Gladiator'. Let us enjoy our moment on the world stage and revel in the sporting excellence of the worlds athletes without implying that it's a government plot to cover up all that's wrong. As Abe Lincoln said 'You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 667.

    Opening Ceremony brilliant, Games brilliant. BBC coverage brilliant.

    This - awful: No objection to a review of British Pop per se, but I really object to those that can't sing without a backing track with their own studio enhanced weedy voices playing alongside - Spice Girls, One Direction (who they?) ad nauseam.

    Learn your craft properly you lightwieghts, like the athletes have to!

  • rate this

    Comment number 666.

    #660- you didn't look very hard. Harry & William (and Kate) were at dozens of events. William wasn't there last night because he was on duty flying his search & rescue helicopter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 665.

    That was a wizard Olympics wasn't it sheeple ............ " When the Coeman brings the gold... and puts a great big smile on some numpties face..... Well I wish it could be Olympics everyday. la la la la la la

  • rate this

    Comment number 664.

    The closing ceremony could have been so much better and I don't think it delivered on the promise of being an "Afterparty for the athletes". It lacked the explosiveness of the opening ceremony and relied too heavily on ageing rockers and obscure nods to our music history. It seemed to be geared towards the athlete's parents, rather than "the youth of the world" themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 663.

    Thank goodness this media junket, fast-food extravaganza that was the olympics is over.

    Now to get on with sorting out the country.

    Oh. Wait. After 2 weeks of doing nothing except watching athletes and slagging each other off, the political party leaders are taking a well deserved break.

    I guess we'll have to sort their mess out while they are away.

  • rate this

    Comment number 662.

    Muse are one of the biggest rock bands in the world, selling out massive stadium tours pretty much wherever they go. It's a shame they played a new song that wasn't too great (but Olympics-associated so not surprising) rather than a classic like Starlight.

  • rate this

    Comment number 661.

    What must the rest of the world think if they were to read these comments, Britain has just had the most amazing show ever, won more medals in any ones lifetime, the streets are happy people are feeling good and smiling, and all we can do it moan, we are certainly living up to the self deprecating stereo type that is placed on us, does it really hurt some people to actually say something good,

  • rate this

    Comment number 660.

    I was so pleased Prince Harry was able to make it to the ceremony. I didn't see him AT ALL at any of the events. I'd have thought he and Prince William would have been more supportive to the athletes, yet they were NOWHERE to be seen, they must have been so so busy doing whatever it is they do. If only they could have turned up at any venue, at any time and any day and sat down in an unsold seat

  • rate this

    Comment number 659.

    Watched the last half. Shouldn't have bothered. Never heard of "Beady Eye" or "Muse". The best act I saw was Freddie Mercury, and he's dead.

  • rate this

    Comment number 658.

    I have to agree with 243.ETEL, this was not about the olympics and Olympic values, it was about brainwashing the world into Western Ideas of culture and Multiculturism through Consumerism and Competition, what were those cars doing driving around inside the statium? very odd? I thought I had tuned in to X Factor on tour? Terrible..Nothing to do with olympic Values, a shame and dembarrassing, sorry

  • rate this

    Comment number 657.

    645 "Something for everyone"

    So none of our great classical performers, British jazz or anything from our superb, 'world-class' folk heritage... some us are clearly 'no-ones' then?

  • Comment number 656.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 655.

    "LOGOC managed to control their budget"

    The original estimate was £2.5bn, moved to £9.3bn, came in at ~£12.5bn.

    And that's without going into the current estimates for loss of income and revenue for small to medium businesses throughout the period which impacted nationally.

    Austerity, buzz word of the government isn't it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 654.

    Did anyone notice TeamGBs blatant advertising on their blazers. What was that all about - I thought such advertising was against IOC rules.

  • rate this

    Comment number 653.


    "...the use of the song "Imagine" offensive to people of faith..."


    The fact that many in this land share the ideals of that song is precisely why we were able to mount this triumph of co-operation and unity.

    Examples of lands where this is not so are Syria and Afghanistan.

  • rate this

    Comment number 652.

    Final score

    Money spent on all TeamGB athletes - 360 million

    Money spent on TeamGB athletes who didn't win any medal 320 million

  • rate this

    Comment number 651.

    Did the Spice Girls 'inspire a generation' ? Grumpy Spice , Silicon Spice, et al really should be ashamed to appear on stage with women athletes who really did achieve something. Was it a day out from the rehab clinic for geritaric musicians ? Where was Elton John ? Who the h**l are Muse ? The cult of 'lennon' continues unabaited I see, at least the song was spot on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 650.

    No travel chaos
    No immigration chaos
    No organisational chaos
    No team fb flops
    No security blunders
    No sam missile blunders
    No criticism from IOC

    Not a lot for ed balls little helpers or the BBC to whinge about.

    and yet they continue in the TRUE Olympic spirit .
    Whingeing , Longer , faster and louder .


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