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
    +5

    Comment number 1129.

    1115. allbright

    i thought is was very random at first but then got into it, but am i the only person who when Prince Harry was introduced that both commentators introduced him as Prince Henry and also the caption read this!!!!..
    -----------
    His name IS Henry.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1128.

    @1111.hizento
    Beijing 2008 compare to London 2012 is like "House of Flying Dagger" Vs "Coronation Street". Everybody around the world was in awe with Beijing.
    ---

    Same as 1936 then.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 1127.

    #1102.
    lehammer

    Britain has become truly Great again. The sum of the parts have proved to be far greater than the whole - physically, visually and ideologically. We can all wave the Union flag with pride.
    LOVE THE NEW MULTICULTURAL BRITAIN, OR LEAVE!"

    Yawn, Haven't the Beeb given you a figure yet for how many medals GB would've won without Scotland. They'll be abandoning the good ship soon.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1126.

    1121.dinger1
    'Fast forward to to the past! There was even a performance by someone who was dead!'

    That's no way to talk about the Kaiser Chiefs.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1125.

    @ewanwhoelse
    On the contrary, it's been great to have only important news filtering through, and not to have seen any politicians ramming spin and lies down our throats

    I sort of agree but the amount of lies/spin/bandwagon jumping over the past three weeks has been hell for the non-sports fans - I even resorted to ITV news as I could not take it any more fawning **** from the bbc presenters.....

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1124.

    After such a great 2 weeks, it was inevitable the closing ceremony would fall short, but to miss by such a wide margin is a real shame.
    After such an effort by our magnificent athletes, to be 'treated' to this debacle was sad.
    kate moss? beady eye? george michael promoting his new single? It was a Cliff Richard or a Bruce Forsyth away from being truly dire.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 1123.

    Opening Ceremony was genius, the sport was epic, the closing ceremony was …a bit ordinary.
    I don’t think a rock/pop party works on TV - Glastonbury festival is amazing if you’re there but doesn’t get huge TV ratings. It also lacked any drama, humour, innovation etc. On a plus side the lighting was awesome.
    Despite this it was a small glitch on two amazing weeks! Well done London!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1122.

    Prince William and Prince Harry wont know what to do with themselves today.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1121.

    For the athletes it must have felt as if they had been imprisoned in a loud, constantly moving, tasteless edition of TOTP2! Fast forward to to the past! There was even a performance by someone who was dead!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 1120.

    Why on earth would Obamah telephone Cameron to congratulate him on a spectacular success that he had absolutely nothing to do with delivering?

  • Comment number 1119.

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

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1118.

    @661.scruffytrafford
    With respect the rest of the world is free to think what they like! In the UK we are tolerant and free to express our opinions. For many the closing ceremony was great entertainment and I'm pleased for them. We were built up to expect a great Musical Event. IMHO music is real music by real musicians on real instruments. There was precious little of that hence my disappointment

  • Comment number 1117.

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

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1116.

    One of the odd things about the ceremony and the whole Games was Ed Miliband's absences. I see that he has just gone off on holiday abroad. Okay but why was he not there in the nation's finest hour? Does he have a problem with sucess? I guess that its always easier to moan from the sidelines. But moaning gets you nowhere.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1115.

    i thought is was very random at first but then got into it, but am i the only person who when Prince Harry was introduced that both commentators introduced him as Prince Henry and also the caption read this!!!!..

  • Comment number 1114.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 1113.

    Watched the whole ceremony with my Ukrainian in-laws who are over for 3 weeks. They hadn't a clue what was going on or about any of the references. They did love the music and knew the acts. For me, I loved it. Not sure about Kate Moss & Naomi Campbell. Role models?!! A spectacular and fitting close to a spectacular and unforgettable moment in our recent history. Wonderful.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 1112.

    As a proud Brit, I think we hosted the games very well and was glad to see that (most of) the athletes gave each other respect they are ALL due. Last night's closing ceremony, although enjoyable and spectacular in many places, unfortunately forgot to give the same courtesy to visiting countries' teams.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 1111.

    Beijing 2008 compare to London 2012 is like "House of Flying Dagger" Vs "Coronation Street". Everybody around the world was in awe with Beijing. Everyone in the world did'nt get it with London apart from a few inward looking folks in Britain.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 1110.

    @Bobble, #609 - On the contrary, it's been great to have only important news filtering through, and not to have seen any politicians ramming spin and lies down our throats (with the exception of the ubiquitous Boris & Cameron). Wall-to-wall news is the scourge of society. Wall-to-wall Olympics is far more preferable.

 

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