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 829.

    The opening ceremony and the Games themselves were fantastic - absolutely wonderful; Team GB did brilliantly. They were always going to be a very difficult to follow. Last night was OK for 75 minutes, but I personally would not have had the Spice Girls and Kaiser Chief and others. There is more to GB than music and last night seemed like another excuse for a concert. Overall, tho', a great event.

  • rate this

    Comment number 828.

    I'll never watch this mish mash of piddly sports ever again. Two weeks of watching nobodies getting medals in sports the Nation pretends it cares about. Great for the competitors but what a waste of life for everyone else. They should go back to the way it was in London 1948 - nobody cared!

  • rate this

    Comment number 827.

    What a pity that so many moments of inspirational sporting effort and success in the games themselves were tarnished by the unimaginative dross masquerading as the "best of Britain" that sandwiched them. I came close to burning my passport in shame.

  • rate this

    Comment number 826.

    Nice to see best of British to the fore - Old Spice. Oh for Sooty and Sweep!

  • rate this

    Comment number 825.

    How can anyone seriously suggest that last nights closing ceremony was poor! It contained some wonderful moments and the fact that it would be difficult to pick one highlight is proof of that. I felt proud to be British after the Queens Jubilee but now I am fit to burst with pride! BBC Sports' Personality of the year shortlist should contain at least 30 names and I have no idea who will win.

  • rate this

    Comment number 824.

    792. Why didnt we win?
    What planet are you on? The Olympic games are a competition between individuals. You do know the origin of them don't you? No. Went to school in McBritain I suppose. There is no competition between nations, that's made up but by the thick people who are BBC journalists - you'll fit in well there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 823.

    mess Mayna 780
    "Because without a voice of dissent there is only compliance and no freedom"

    I agree absolutely! I don`t always share your views, but agree totally on this, and your right to dissent.

  • rate this

    Comment number 822.

    It had a hard act to follow as the opening ceremony was amazing, but with a music theme it was going to be difficult to please everyone (or anyone reading the grinches comments!)

    Why did George Michael get 2 songs, not sure he deserved that and no Led Zeppellin, am i the only person who think led zeppelin are the best british band??? Spice Girls, Muse and Jessie J were rubbish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 821.

    "Because without a voice of decent there is only compliance & no freedom of thought. I am patriotic, just not blinded by what others think I should say, do & feel." 780, neg rated. May I suggest you check European history to why you may wish to rethink your view & a word of decent is a good thing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 820.

    Elbow - One Day Like This spoilt by commentators gabbing through it. Two dead people were two of the best turns - Freddie and John. Love Brain May input he is the greatest - George Michael good - Annie Lennox - time to retire. Spice Girls - spiced it up. The rest of the concert was mediocre (for me.). The whole Games and Concert were spectacular. Rio de Jan gave a good taster and Boris behaved!

  • rate this

    Comment number 819.

    I think the most "insesitive" thing about Lennons Imagine was using it for an event so heavily sponsored by the likes of McDonalds, BP, ATOS and other organisations of dubious ethics.
    I sincerely doubt John would have approved.
    (Yoko must have been running a bit short of cash)

  • rate this

    Comment number 818.

    I'm British! For the first time in a long time I say it with greater pride and passion following a wonderful two weeks! So inspired that I am out running the streets! For those that choose to complain, moan, gripe and groan, I say this - if you truly believe this was poor, then it is you who failed to take the games in the spirit they were intended and it is you who have missed out! How sad!

  • rate this

    Comment number 817.

    London 2012 introduced the world to a new generation of British athletes we are proud of ...and the previous generation of musicians still hogging the limelight.

    Athletes retire when they are past their prime and seek to mentor the next generation. Why don't musicians have the decency to do the same?

    Talent shows and boy/girl bands have killed a generation of British songwriters.

  • rate this

    Comment number 816.

    Did anyone else notice that we only got one bronze in a team ball-sport (women's hockey)? I find that quite interesting. Perhaps that's why we're rubbish at football internationally - we just can't kick, hit or throw balls around to fellow team members or into goals very well. Let's hope the people determining future sport education have noticed this...

  • rate this

    Comment number 815.

    I was half expecting Ronald McDonald to show up

  • rate this

    Comment number 814.

    The miserable so-and-sos who have commented earlier must have been watching something entirely different. The closing ceremony was great fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though some of the musical acts were not to my taste! Agree with scruffytrafford that it's no wonder we are stereotyped by the rest of the world- the Olympics have been a triumph and well done to all those involved.

  • rate this

    Comment number 813.

    Obviously lots of envy on here at people who are succesful and are just looking for any excuse to have a go at what was a hugely enjoyable and succesful games.

    You're probably most annoyed because it wasn't the failure you hoped it would be so you could feel a little bit better about your own failings.

  • rate this

    Comment number 812.

    There aren't many who dispute what a wonderful games we've just had but for those who cannot understand negativity surrounding aspects then maybe an explanation is in order?

    We have the most unfair and unpopular government in charge at the moment and much of the country is close to boiling point with them. Tax breaks for the rich and more tax for the rest does not engender good vibes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 811.

    Is the Olympics over?
    I like this report from the BBC Cameron, Clegg and Miliband head off on post-Olympics holidays SPAIN!
    Lets hope the hotel they are staying at closes down lol Throw them on the streets of Spain, let the Spaniards deal with them

  • rate this

    Comment number 810.

    Opening was good. Closing not so much. In fact i think the closing was kinda how we thought the opening would be. Embarassing.
    Danny Boyle was probabably laughing his backside off


Page 24 of 65


More UK stories



Copyright © 2015 BBC. 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.