13 Aug 2012

Goodbye from London and over to you, Rio

12:00 pm on 13 August 2012

The 2012 London Games are over: the Olympic flame was extinguished at the main stadium on Sunday night at the end of a spectacular closing ceremony.

London said farewell to the Games in style, with the ceremony opening to the chimes of Big Ben, the 80,000-seat stadium transformed into a mini-London and the stage shaped like the British flag, the union jack.

Organisers treated the crowds to a high-octane romp through British pop music over nearly three hours of celebration, bringing the curtain down on more than two weeks of sporting action.

Performers included George Michael, Annie Lennox, Ed Sheeran, Jessie J, the Spice Girls, the Who, Russell Brand and Monty Python star Eric Idle leading a mass singalong of "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life".

There were also video appearances from the late Freddie Mercury and John Lennon, singing "Imagine".

Half an hour into the celebrations, all the competing nations marched into the stadium, with New Zealand's contingent headed by rower Mahe Drysdale carrying the New Zealand flag.

The ceremony concluded with the handing over of the Olympic flag to the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes, whose city will host the 2016 Games; there was also a short performance showcasing Brazilian culture.

Earlier, in a special message, the Queen congratulated all the British and Commonwealth athletes who had taken part in the Games, and praised the Olympic organisers and the thousands of volunteers.