London 2012 "happy and glorious" Olympics says Rogge at Closing Ceremony
Sunday, 12 August 2012
August 12 - The Who, the Spice Girls, Take That and Darcey Bussell all helped bring the curtain down here tonight on London 2012, a Games that International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge called "happy and glorious" but stopped short of declaring the greatest ever.
Rogge has steadfastly refused to follow the example of his predecessor Juan Antonio Samarach, who always used to declare each Games he presided over as the "best Games ever".
But he has perhaps been more effusive about London's Games than the previous events he oversaw in Athens and Beijing.
"The [London 2012] Organising Committee, well supported by the public authorities, did a superb job," Rogge told the sell-out crowd of 80,000.
"We will never forget the smiles, the kindness and the support of the wonderful volunteers, the much-needed heroes of these Games."
The Closing Ceremony was a "symphony of British music" and, besides legendary groups like The Who, also featured Madness, Pet Shop Boys and One Direction, who were watched by an estimated worldwide television audience of 300 million.
There were also monochrome recreations of London landmarks covered in newsprint, from Big Ben's clocktower and Tower Bridge to the London Eye ferris wheel and the chubby highrise known as the Gherkin.
It all spread out across an Olympic Stadium floor arranged to resemble the British flag.
But Rogge made sure that people were aware that while the Olympics may be over London 2012 is not.
"You have shown the world the best of British hospitality," he said.
"I know that generosity of spirit will continue as we marvel at the dedication and talent of the wonderful Paralympic athletes."
The Paralympics are due to open on August 29 but for this evening Coe could be forgiven for reflecting on successfully ensuring that London became the first city in the 116-year history of the Olympics to host them three times.
"Once again we have shown ourselves worthy of that trust," he told the crowd.
"We lit the flame and we lit up the world.
"The British people got behind London's bid and they got behind London's Games.
"Our Opening Ceremony procliamed that these would be a Games for everyone.
"At our Closing Ceremony we can say that these were a Games by everyone.
"These may be the end of these two glorious weeks in London.
"But what we have begun we will not stop now.
"The spirit of these Olympics will inspire a generation.
"We have seen in these days what tenacity can do, what ambiton can do, what imagination can do.
"We know more more now, as individuals and as a nation, just what we are capable of.
"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 finish with these words: When our time came - Britain, we did it right."
To read David Owen: London 2012 may have given Britain back its confidence click here.