Mon, September 10, 2012
Sports > Popular News > 2012 London Paralympic Games

"Festival of flame" send-off party bids farewell to Paralympics

2012-09-09 22:20:49 GMT2012-09-10 06:20:49(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

LONDON, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- London 2012 Paralympic Games lowered curtain with a closing ceremony themed "the festival of flame" on Sunday night.

The two-and-half-an-hour show was led by the British band Coldplay as the musical background and took the about 80,000 audiences in the sold-out Olympic Stadium through the four seasons in this country.

Unlike the other ceremonies of the Games, the about 4,200 athletes from 164 countries and regions were seated in and around the field of play before the show began.

Coldplay's "Life in Technicolor" played as 164 Paralympians and 164 flag escorts created a heart shape around the Sundial Stage, one of the three circular stages. A heart was burned into the ground - leaving a lasting mark behind.

Liu Fuliang, the double gold medallists in athletics, was the flagbearer of China. In a similar scenario to the Beijing 2008 Paralympics, China stunned the world again with history-making medal haul of 95 gold, 71 silver and 65 bronze medals in London, boasting a 59-gold margin against the second finisher Russia's 36- 38-28.

The evening not only paid tribute to the athletes whose endeavours and commitment to the Paralympic Values - courage, determination, inspiration and equality - moved the audiences over the past 11 days, but also hailed the 70,000 "Games Maker" - the volunteers whose enthusiasm and dedication contributed to the success of London 2012. Flowers were presented to volunteer representatives.

With classic songs like "yellow" played by Coldplay, the Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer were in turn revealed in British culture and style.

Attention returned to the stage as the the Paralympic flag handover ceremony took place. The Flag was passed from the Mayor of London, Boris Johnsnon, to the President of the IPC, Philip Craven, who entrusted it to Eduardo Paes, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, the next host city.

The Rio 2016 artistic segment, lasting eight minutes, alternated musical performances by Brazilian pop stars with playful 'dance battles' by groups who included disabled and non- disabled dancers, in a joyful celebration.

Sebastian Coe, Chair of the London 2012 Organising Committee, told two stories to thank volunteers and concluded his speech with proudly simple words.

"There are some famous words you can find stamped on the bottom of a product. Words, that when you read them, you know mean high quality, mean skill, mean creativity."

"We have stamped those words on the Olympic and Paralympic Games of London 2012.

"London 2012. Made in Britain."

Philip Craven praised the Paralympics as "quite simply amazing Games".

"Finally the time has come for me to declare the Paralympic Games closed. But we all know that these Paralympic Games will live on for an eternity.

"I call upon Paralympic athletes from all over the world to meet in Rio de Janeiro in four years'time where once again you will inspire and excite the world with your sporting excellence."

As the cauldron opened and the flame began to fade, two Paralympians, the host's gold medallists Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock, arrived carrying torches. They lit their torches from the dying flame and proceeded to light various torches held by members of the cast - symbolising the eternal nature of the Flame living on among each and every one of us.

Burning bright noon and night across 11 days of sporting excellence, the Flame was finally extinguished. A powerful and poignant moment watched by the athletes and audiences, it signified the end of the Paralympics and the countdown to Rio 2016.

The ceremony concluded with a spectacular firework display. It began over the stadium and park. Then, on the screens, a broadcast of fireworks along the river - part of the Mayor's Thames Festival - and a stunning display lit up the Paralympic logo, the Agitos, that hung from Tower Bridge.

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