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London bids farewell to 'wonderful' Olympic Games

ESPN staff
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London bade farewell to the Olympics in spectacular fashion on Sunday evening, with 2012 Games chairman Lord Sebastian Coe proudly declaring Great Britain "did it right" during a musical closing ceremony.

The three-hour extravaganza featured British artists such as the Spice Girls, George Michael and Take That. Amid the colour and festivities, the Olympic flag was handed to mayor of the 2012 Olympic Games host, Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes.

Speaking during the ceremony, Coe hailed the Games a success and praised the people of Great Britain for their support and enthusiam over the past 16 days.

"On the first day of these Games I said we were determined to do it right. I said that these Games would see the best of us. On this last day I can conclude with these words: 'When our time came - Britain, we did it right.' Thank you!

"And thank you to the people of this country. The British people got behind London's bid and they got behind London's Games.

"Our opening ceremony proclaimed that these would be a Games for everyone. At our closing ceremony, we can say that these were a Games by everyone. London 2012 has played host to some incredible sport. To awe inspiring feats, that are the result of incredible dedication and skill by the world's great sports men and women.

"To all the Olympians who came to London to compete - thank you. Those of us who came to watch witnessed moments of heroism and heartbreak that will live long in the memory. You have our admiration and our congratulations.

"Today sees the closing of a wonderful Games in a wonderful city. We lit the flame and lit up the world," said Coe.

To the sound of the Olympic Anthem, the Olympic flag was lowered by representatives of the Armed Forces, and Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who received the flag four years ago in Beijing, returned it to International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.

Meanwhile, Leo Gryner, chief executive of Rio 2016, said the city had learned from the Games and vowed to resolve the issue of empty seats.

"I have to congratulate London for putting on such a successful and well-managed Games and we hope we can achieve the same result," he said. "For every organising committee dealing with empty seats is a challenge. We have to find creative ideas to try and overcome this. We hope that we will do better than London."

Rogge said: "London has absolutely refreshed the Games in many aspects. These were athletes' Games, the athlete's village was fantastic, the venues were state-of-the-art and well run, you had a fantastic public.

"The volunteers are marvellous, very smiling, very kind and very efficient. There are a lot of things London has done with probably a better care for sustainability and legacy than many other cities in the past."

The sky was set ablaze by fireworks at the conclusion of the ceremony as The Who performed "My Generation" while the stadium swelled into a sea of red, white and blue, and the city of London said goodbye to the Games of the XXX Olympiad.

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