The London 2012 Games have ended with a spectacular closing ceremony.
A party atmosphere was generated in the Olympic stadium by an eclectic celebration of British music which included everything from the Beatles to the Spice Girls. It was all rounded off with the now compulsory, but no less dramatic fireworks.
Everyone from the athletes to the audience seemed enthralled.
“I’ve been in every Olympic games since 1984 and I can tell you this much. The closing ceremony tonight was by far the most impressive thing I’ve seen. First time ever, a closing ceremony was better than the opening,” said one American spectator.
“It was fantastic,” said another. “The buzz was just amazing, absolutely electric. It felt like the best gig ever of a lifetime – the biggest after party you could ever imagine.
The games have been dubbed “the happy and glorious” by some. A successful Team GB performance – a record haul of 65 medals, 29 of them gold – added to the feel good factor for the hosts as the Olympic baton was handed over to Rio de Janeiro for the next outing four years from now.
What they said
“These were happy and glorious Games” – International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge hails London 2012 as he closes the Games with a reference to Britain’s national anthem and Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee year.
“It’s what I came here to do, I’m now a legend” – Jamaica’s Usain Bolt permits the world to proclaim him a sporting legend after becoming the first man to retain the 100- and 200 metres titles.
“I hope that this medal inspires the kids at home to put down guns and knives and pick up a pair of trainers instead” – Erick Barrondo, winner of Guatemala’s first-ever Olympic medal with silver in the men’s 20-km race walk.
“My results come from hard work and training and I would never use any banned drugs. The Chinese people have clean hands” – Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen brushes aside doping suspicions raised after the 16-year-old set a world record in the women’s 400 metres individual medley.
“‘Inspire a generation’ is our motto. Not necessarily ‘Create a generation’, which is what they sometimes get up to in the Olympic village” – London Mayor Boris Johnson extols the “energy and enthusiasm” of the Games’ 10,000 athletes, to whom some 150,000 condoms were distributed.