Sunday, 12 August 2012
London bids farewell to the Olympic Games
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 were expected to tune in on television sets around the world.
The concert opened with a countdown followed by the chimes of Big Ben marking the top of the hour. The set included the London landmark, as well as replicas of the London Eye, Tower Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
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.
Later in the concert, athletes enter and the winner of the men’s marathon is awarded his medal.
The ceremony then switches to an hour-long celebration of British pop of the last five decades featuring hits such as “Imagine”, “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Pinball Wizard”.
The Spice Girls, George Michael and The Who are among the cast set to perform, and, after a section devoted to the 2016 Olympic hosts Rio de Janeiro there will be closing speeches and the Olympic Flame is extinguished.
The host nation won 29 golds to take third place in the rankings, its best result for 104 years which helped lift the nation out of the gloom of an economic recession temporarily buried in the inside pages of the newspapers.
“I will say history has been written by many athletes. The Games were absolutely fabulous. London has absolutely refreshed the Games,” International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said.
British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed, writing in a succinct message on Twitter: “Britain delivered. We showed the world what we’re made of.