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PHOTOS: Colourful party brings curtain down on Games

Last updated on: August 13, 2012 03:07 IST

PHOTOS: Colourful party brings curtain down on Games

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London said farewell to the Olympic Games on Sunday with a high-octane romp through British pop music, bringing the curtain down on more than two weeks of action at the end of which the United States topped the sporting world with 46 gold medals.

There was another sell-out crowd at the 80,000-capacity athletics stadium in East London for the final act of the Games, and another 300 million people tuned into television sets around the world.

The concert opened with a countdown followed by the chimes of Big Ben marking 9 p.m. (2000 GMT). The set included the London landmark, as well as replicas of the London Eye, Tower Bridge and St. Paul's Cathedral.

- London Olympics 2012 - Complete coverage

Actor Timothy Spall read from Shakespeare's The Tempest dressed as war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and after a London "rush hour" featuring real cars and trucks wrapped in newspaper, Prince Harry entered to represent his grandmother Queen Elizabeth.

Check out more images from the closing ceremony:



Image: A general view of the stadium during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16
Photographs: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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It all spread out across an Olympic Stadium floor arranged to resemble the British flag.

Street percussion group Stomp built the noise into a frenzy, and dancers brandished brooms, in a nod to the spontaneous popular movement to clean up London after riots shook neighborhoods not far from Olympic Stadium just a year ago.

And there was much, much more to come.

Prince William's wife, Kate, and Prince Harry took seats next to Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee. They sang along to God Save the Queen.

But perhaps the best seats in the house were for the 10,800 athletes, who marched in as one, rather than with their nations, symbolizing the harmony and friendship inspired by the games.


Image: Performers wave British flags during the closing ceremony
Photographs: Phil Noble/Reuters

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As the crowd cheered their heroes and flashbulbs rippled through the stadium, the Olympians cheered back, some carrying national flags, others snapping photographs with smartphones and cameras.

They held hands, embraced and carried each other on their shoulders, finally forming a human mosh pit on the field.

The ceremony had something for everyone, from tween girls to 1960s hippies. George Michael, Muse, Fatboy Slim, and Annie Lennox all performed.

Queen Elizabeth II, who made a memorable mock parachute entrance at the July 27 opening ceremony, was on hand.


Image: Flagbearers take part in the athletes' march
Photographs: Sergio Moraes/Reuters

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What a way to end a Games far more successful than many Londoners expected. Security woes were overcome, and traffic nightmares never materialized. The weather held up, more or less, and British athletes overachieved.

It all came at a price tag of $14 billion, three times the original estimate. But nobody wanted to spoil the fun with such mundane concerns, at least not on this night.

Britons, who had fretted for weeks that the games would become a fiasco, were buoyed by their biggest medal haul since 1908 -- 29 golds and 65 medals in all.


Image: Performers take part in the closing ceremony
Photographs: Chris Helgren/Reuters
Tags: PHOTOS

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The United States edged China in both the gold medal and total medal standings, eclipsing its best performance at an Olympics on foreign soil after the Dream Team narrowly held off Spain in basketball for the country's 46th gold.

"It's been an incredible fortnight," said Coe, an Olympic champion in his own right.

While the Games may have lacked some of the drama and grandeur of the Beijing Olympics in 2008, there were many unforgettable moments.


Image: Performers at the closing ceremony
Photographs: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters

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The theme for the close, Coe said, could be summed up in three words. "Party. Party. Party."

In a switch from opening night and what appeared to be a concession to its vocal critics, NBC decided to stream the ceremony live online, in addition to broadcasting it during prime time.

London organizers tried to keep the ceremony under wraps, but photographs of their rehearsals, in an old car plant in east London, made the British papers almost daily.

The show was to include performances of 30 British hit singles from the past five decades -- whittled by Gavin from a list of 1,000 songs.


Image: Neil Tennant (L) and Chris Lowe from The Pet Shop Boys perform
Photographs: Hannah Johnston/Getty Images
Tags: NBC , PHOTOS , Gavin , London , British

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