LONDON – A rocking night of performances by many stars inside the Olympic Stadium on Sunday marked a triumphant end to the London Games, where the United States topped the medals chart and host country Britain surpassed expectations.
The U.S. basketball gold was the Americans’ last of 46, for a total of 104. That put them well ahead of no. 2 China, which won 87 medals, including 38 golds. Britain won 29 golds, third-most of any nation, and 65 medals overall – good for fourth in that category behind Russia, a winner of 82 medals, 24 of them gold.
The games ended with a huge party in the main stadium that began with a shout-out to Winston Churchill and a celebration of the Union Jack. It including rock ‘n’ roll rickshaws, dustbin percussionists, an exploding yellow car and a marching band in red tunics.The show, put together by artistic director Kim Gavin, also featured a parade of the 10,800 athletes, who marched in as one, rather than with their nations, symbolizing the harmony and friendship inspired by the games. The crowd cheered and the Olympians gave it right back, waving flags and arms.
Later in the ceremony, London to organizers handed the Olympic flag to organizers of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“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,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said, as he declared the games closed.
The best of Britain’s past and present music scene partied with volunteers, athletes and the world as London 2012 came to a breathtaking close tonight.
Aimed at celebrating one of Britain’s strongest cultural exports over the last 50 years, the musical extravaganza marked the end of the country’s most successful Games in more than a century.
Evoking images of the past from Winston Churchill and Edward Elgar, through the psychedelic 60s to the highs and lows of the Games, the closing ceremony culminated with a glimpse of the carnival that awaits in Rio in four years’ time.
A galaxy of stars including the Pet Shop Boys, Kaiser Chiefs, George Michael, Tinie Tempah and Jessie J, along with faces such as Kate Moss, Russell Brand, Julian Lloyd Webber, Naomi Campbell and Darcey Bussell built up to the show’s climax and The Who.