Closing Ceremony: London wraps up Games with more than a little pop

2012-08-13T00:00:00Z Closing Ceremony: London wraps up Games with more than a little popThe Associated Press The Associated Press
August 13, 2012 12:00 am  • 

LONDON - And now, on to Rio.

With a little British pomp and a lot of British pop, London brought the curtain down on a glorious Olympic Games on Sunday in a spectacular, technicolor pageant of landmarks, light shows and lots of fun. Organizers then handed the baton to 2016 host Brazil, which must now take up the Herculean task of matching them.

The closing ceremony offered a sensory blast including rock 'n' roll rickshaws, dustbin percussionists, an exploding yellow car and a marching band in red tunics and bearskin hats.

The Spice Girls staged a show-stopping reunion, and Monty Python's Eric Idle sauntered through "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" - accompanied by Roman centurions, Scottish bagpipers and a human cannonball.

It all made for a psychedelic mashup that had 80,000 fans at Olympic Stadium stomping, cheering and singing along. Organizers estimated 300 million were watching around the world.

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 with a price tag of $14 billion - three times the original estimate. But nobody wanted to spoil the fun with such mundane concerns on this night.

"We lit the flame, and we lit up the world," said London organizing committee chief Sebastian Coe. "When our time came, Britain, we did it right."

But the night was about splash more than speeches.

Festive and fast-moving, the ceremony opened with pop bands Madness, Pet Shop Boys and One Direction, a shout-out to Winston Churchill and a tribute to the Union Jack - the floor of Olympic Stadium floor arranged to resemble the British flag.

Monochrome recreations of London landmarks were covered in newsprint, from Big Ben's clock tower and Tower Bridge to the London Eye Ferris wheel and the chubby high-rise Gherkin.

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 a year ago.

Liam Gallagher performed "Wonderwall," a 1990s hit by his former band, Oasis, Muse rocked the house with the hard-edged Olympic anthem "Survival," and Queen guitarist Brian May was joined by singer Jessie J for a crowd-pleasing "We Will Rock You."

The headline performers were each paid a pound, a little more than $1.50.

The night ended with the extinguishing of the multi-petaled Olympic cauldron and a supercharged rendition of "My Generation" and other classics by The Who that had the crowd dancing in the aisles. Confetti rained down, and fireworks lit up the sky.

Prince William's wife, Kate, and Prince Harry sang along to "God Save the Queen." There was no sign of the queen herself, who made a memorable mock parachute entrance at the July 27 opening ceremony.

Following Olympic tradition, the 10,800 athletes marched in as one rather than with their nations, symbolizing the harmony and friendship inspired by the London Games.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activate

Latest Video

More videos

Coach Bill Dawson on assisting for Ollie Mayfield

Daniel Gaona and Bill Dawson talk about his days assisting Ollie Mayfield.



Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...

Deals, offers & events

View more...

Lemonade Days of Summer Smoothies!

Flavors: The Pucker, The Squeeze, and The Crunch - for a limit…