London 2012 'a dream for sports lovers'
London bade a triumphant farewell to the Olympics yesterday as the curtain came down on its widely acclaimed staging of the global sporting spectacular.
A star-studded closing ceremony got under way in front of 80000 spectators, packed into the Olympic Stadium to crown an event hailed by International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge as a "dream for sports lovers".
"I am a very happy and grateful man," Rogge said ahead of last night's ceremony.
"London promised an athletes' Games and that's what we got."
Artists who performed in last night's ceremony - broadcast to an estimated audience of 300-million - included Kaiser Chiefs, the Spice Girls, Ray Davies, George Michael, Annie Lennox, Pet Shop Boys, Madness, Kate Bush and The Who in a show with a cast of more than 4000.
After strolling, or jogging, around the stadium the athletes were corralled by stewards into segments of the arena which, when put together depicted a huge British national flag.
Ray Davies and The Kinks singing Waterloo Sunset and video footage of the late Freddie Mercury and John Lennon were part of the spectacle of British music that closed the hugely successful Games. The Australian reported that Lennon's widow Yoko Ono had remastered the footage from her private archives of Lennon singing Imagine.
Prime Minister David Cameron meanwhile said Britain's staging of the Games had "shown the world what we're made of." "We reminded ourselves what we can do and, yes, we demonstrated that you should never ever count Team GB down and out," Cameron said, referring to the success of British athletes, who enjoyed their best performance for 104 years.
"Over the past couple of weeks, we have looked in the mirror and we like what we have seen as a country," he said.
On the final day of competition, 15 medals were decided, with the US Dream Team beating Spain in the basketball final. The US finished top of the medals table ahead of China with Britain third.