London Says Goodbye To Olympics With Closing Ceremony
The two-and-a-half-hour long ceremony called, “A Symphony of British Music,” meshed the biggest names from the past and present. Jessie J and Queen guitarist Brian May teamed up for a rendition of “We Will Rock You” that got the crowd of 80,000 in Olympic Stadium clapping along to the beat.
The audience was also treated to a dose of '90s nostalgia as the Spice Girls reunited to entertain fans with signature songs such as “Wannabe” and “Spice Up Your Life.” Liam Gallagher of Beady Eye performed “Wonderwall,” a hit by his former band, Oasis.
The selection of musical acts crossed generational lines as the likes of George Michael, Fatboy Slim, Tinie Tempah and One Direction also took the stage, which was designed to resemble the crosses on the Union Jack flag.
International Olympic Committee President Jacque Rogge declared the Games closed as the Olympic flag was passed to the mayor of Rio, where the next Summer Games will be held.
From the BBC:
Mr Rogge, who declared the Games of the 30th Olympiad closed, said amid cheers: "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 energized its competitors and brought a festive spirit to every Olympic venue."
Unlike the opening ceremony, the more than 10,500 athletes who competed in London marched in together instead of with Olympians from their own countries. Some carried miniature flags and others wore medals won during their events.
Former USC track standout Bryshon Nellum, a silver medalist on the men’s 4x400-meter relay team, was chosen by fellow American athletes to carry the U.S. flag into the stadium.
The night concluded when the 204 petals of the Olympic cauldron, representing the number of competing nations, were lowered to ground level and gradually extinguished. The Who closed the show with “My Generation.” Fireworks then filled up the sky above the stadium to bring an end to an Olympics that provided its share of memorable moments.
Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt blew by the competition in the 100-, 200- and 4x100-meter races to duplicate his three golds from four years ago. Michael Phelps increased his career medal tally to 22 medals — 18 of them gold — before swimming into retirement as the most-decorated Olympian ever.
The world saw South African runner Oscar Pistorius, who runs on carbon-fiber blades, become the first double-amputee to compete in track at an Olympics.
The growing presence of women also highlighted these Games.
From The New York Times:
Women were a major story of this Olympics, with London marking the first time that every country had at least one female athlete. A 16-year-old judo fighter from Saudi Arabia became the first women from her country to compete in the Olympics, which she did while wearing a variation of traditional Muslim head garb. A blue belt with little experience, Wojdan Shaherkani lost her match in just 92 seconds, and as courageous as this barrier-busting performance was, it hardly seems like Saudi Arabia — as well as Qatar and Brunei, two other countries that sent women for the first time — are about to aggressively rethink the role of women in sport.
For the first time ever, the American delegation had more women (269) than men (261), and female Olympians accounted for 29 of the U.S.’s 46 gold medals
London 2012 chairman Lord Sebastian Coe declared, “these are a Games by everyone.”
"Thank you to the people of this country,” Coe said. “When our time came, Britain, we did it right."
Read more of Neon Tommy's 2012 Olympic coverage here.