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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Curtain Falls on ‘glorious’ London Games

(London) – The London Olympics closed in a blaze of music and colour Sunday after a two-week sporting festival that electrified the host nation and was watched by billions around the world. Olympics President Jacques Rogge praised the Games as “happy and glorious” before the sporting spectacular was brought to a close in a three-hour ceremony rounded out with a performance from British rock band The Who.
“Through your commitment to fair play, your respect for opponents, and your grace in defeat as well as in victory, you have earned the right to be called Olympians,” Rogge said. “These were happy and glorious Games.” The Spice Girls, George Michael, Brazilian football legend Pele and a cast of more than 4,000 entertained a packed crowd of 80,000 at Olympic Stadium, the focal point of a Games which has borne witness to an extraordinary fortnight.
The ceremony also saw the handover of the Olympic flag to the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, a symbolic transfer which launches the four-year countdown to the 2016 Games to be held in the Brazilian city. Record-breaking sprinter Usain Bolt and swimmer Michael Phelps lit up Olympic Park, a former industrial site, and Jessica Ennis led an unexpectedly high number of British champions who kept fans’ excitement at fever-pitch.
The United States topped the medals table with 46 golds, eight ahead of China, while Britain had 29 — their best since 1904. It was the first Games where every team had at least one female athlete. After 16 full days of competition, 302 Olympic titles were handed out and 46 world records were broken. More than seven million fans came out to watch Olympic events, and Bolt’s 200m win generated a record 80,000 tweets a minute.
“Today was the closing of a wonderful Games in a wonderful city. We lit the flame and we lit up the world,” said Games chief Sebastian Coe. Prime Minister David Cameron received congratulations from US President Barack Obama, who called him to praise the organisation and the performance of the British team.

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