Britain celebrated its most successful Olympics since 1908 with a closing ceremony last night that included The Who, Prince Harry and the Spice Girls.
The host nation finished third in the medals table with 65 medals, including 29 gold, as London became the only city to have organized the Summer Games three times.
“On the first day of these games, I said we were determined to get it right,” Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London 2012 organizing committee, told the 80,000 spectators at London’s Olympic Stadium. “I said that these games would see the best of us. When our time came -- Britain, we did it right.”
The U.S. topped the medal standings with 46 golds and 104 in total. China was second with 38 golds among its 87 medals. Gold medals were awarded in 15 events yesterday, the last won by Lithuania’s Laura Asadauskaite in the women’s modern pentathlon.
“You have shown the world the best of British hospitality,” International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said as he declared the games closed. “These were happy and glorious games.”
Directed by Kim Gavin, the London closing ceremony was “a celebration of all that’s good about London, British people, our music and our culture,” according to organizers.
There were performances by comedian Russell Brand, ballerina Darcey Bussell, DJ Fatboy Slim, Annie Lennox, Madness, George Michael, the Pet Shop Boys, the Spice Girls, Take That and The Who. They were supported by a cast of 3,500 volunteers, representing every continent.
To honor the origins of the Olympics, the Greek flag was raised and its national anthem played for the hand-over ceremony to the Rio 2016 organizing committee.
After the Olympic flag was lowered by members of Britain’s armed forces, it was handed over by London Mayor Boris Johnson to International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge, who presented it to Eduardo Paes, mayor of Rio de Janeiro.