Athletes streamed out of London yesterday after two weeks of spectacular Olympic sport closed in a blaze of colour and music that turned the world’s attention to the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Olympics President Jacques Rogge praised the Games as “happy and glorious” before London bade farewell with a three-hour extravaganza of British music that electrified the host nation and billions of viewers around the globe.
Posh and all: British pop group Spice Girls perform at the closing ceremony. PICS/AFP
“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.” 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.
The ceremony also saw the handover of the Olympic flag to the mayor of Rio, a symbolic transfer which launches the four-year countdown to the 2016 Games to be held in the Brazilian city. Rio gave a taste of what to expect with a swinging samba section in the London closing ceremony that included Pele and a host of carnival-style dancers.
After 16 full days of competition, 302 Olympic titles were handed out and 46 world records were broken.
DRC judoka, coaches go missing in London
A judoka and three coaches from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Olympic delegation have gone missing after leaving the Athlete’s Village at the London Games, the country’s sports ministry said yesterday. Cedric Mandembo, who competed in the +100kg category, boxing coach Blaise Bekwa, athletics coach Guy Nkita and judo coach Ibula Masengo have not been seen since the Games came to a close.