The 2012 Olympic Games came to a tumultuous conclusion last night in a vibrant closing ceremony that would have blown the roof off the Olympic stadium, if it had one, and which could surely be heard to the furthest reaches of East London, writes The Telegraph.
There was another sellout crowd at the 80,000-capacity athletics stadium in east London late on Sunday for the final act of the tournament, and 300 million people were expected to tune in on televisions around the world.
“I am so excited,” 17-year-old U.S. swimmer Missy Franklin said before the closing ceremony. “I think it is the perfect way to end the entire journey.”
Many people will remember London 2012 Olympic Games for the record-breaking exploits of American swimmer Michael Phelps, who took his life-time medal haul to 22 including 18 golds, making him the most decorated Olympian in history.
Thanks to Michael Phelps and 45 other triumphant team or individual performances, the United States had regained the top spot in both the gold-medal and overall tallies before Posh and the rest of the Spice Girls reunited to perform at Olympic Stadium during Sunday’s closing ceremony.
The Spice Girls, Take That and George Michael were among the acts taking part in an exuberant finale that sought to sum up Britain’s enthusiasm for the Games despite reservations about the 9 billion pound ($14 billion) cost, according to Reuters.
The ceremony had something for everyone, from tween girls to 1960s hippies. The face of John Lennon appeared on the stadium floor, assembled by 101 fragments of sculpture, and just as quickly gave way to George Michael, Fatboy Slim and Annie Lennox, reports Yahoo.
Ray Davies of The Kinks sang “Waterloo Sunset” early on, and The Who performed “My Generation” in the final minutes.
The centre of the Olympic stadium had been turned into a huge Union Jack, on which stood miniature (but not that miniature versions) of the capital’s most familiar landmarks – Battersea Power Station, the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, the Gherkin, and Tower Bridge, all wrapped in newsprint proclaiming Britain’s literary heritage, from Milton and Shakespeare, through Tolkien to the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
During the ceremony The Olympic flag was handed to Eduardo Paes, Rio de Janeiro’s mayor, before International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge described the London Games as “happy and glorious” and declared them closed – the words taken from Britain’s national anthem to the queen.
With the formalities of the the arrival of Prince Harry, representing the Queen, and the president of the International Committee, Jaques Rogge, dispensed with, the party got back into its swing.
To the sound of Bowie’s fashion, the stadium turned into a huge catwalk, as a phalanx of supermodels including Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Stella Tennant paraded in outfits by the cream of British designers.
U.S. President Barack Obama called British Prime Minister David Cameron to congratulate the country on what he called “an extremely successful Olympic games, which speaks to the character and spirit of our close ally.”
The 2012 Olympic Flame was extinguished, fireworks filled the sky, the athletes walked off and the Great Britain prepared to return to the reality of an economic recession temporarily buried in the inside pages of the Monday’s newspapers.
The total of 46 gold medals was the highest for the U.S. in an Olympics contested on foreign soil. Those gold medals were supplemented by 29 silver medals and 29 bronze medals for a grand total of 104, giving Team USA the lead in the medal count for the fifth straight Games.
“We had very, very high expectations coming into the Games, and I think our expectations have been exceeded both on the field of play and off,” Scott Blackmun, chief executive of the U.S. Olympic Committee, said before Sunday’s final events.
He continued: “One of our primary objectives is to get as many American athletes on the podium as we can. If you look at the team sports, we’re going to put more than 200 on the podium while we’re here, which is something that’s very, very important to us.”