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Rio Olympics closes amidst pageantry, fun and fare

Rio 2016 Olympic curtains were drawn on Sunday amidst pageantry, fun and fare befitting the carnival traditions of host city; attention to Japan 2020

The Rio 2016 Olympic curtains were drawn on Sunday amidst pageantry, fun and fare befitting the carnival traditions of the host city.

The closing ceremony opened in a blaze of colour and musical backdrop of samba sounds, as dancers twisted and turned.

They formed the outlines of a series of iconic Rio monuments and landmarks, culminating in a multi-coloured depiction of the Olympic rings.

That gave way to the traditional parade of the athletes, led by Greece and host nation Brazil.

The Brazilians won seven golds had enjoyed their most successful Games ever.

The most memorable,  no doubt, is the fact that they won gold in the football tournament for the first time since 64 years.

The event culminated with Japan, whose capital city Tokyo will play host to the next edition of the Games in 2020.

Once all of the athletes were safely inside the stadium, the spotlight fell on Norwegian DJ and musician Kygo.

She accompanied American singer Julia Michaels in a rendition of a song called Carry Me, which then gave way to a film promoting the launch of the IOC’s innovative new digital media platform, the Olympic Channel. 

In the last of 306 medal ceremonies, IOC President Thomas Bach draped the gold around the neck of Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge, who had won the men’s marathon earlier in the day.

President Bach then took the stage flanked by the Mayor of Rio Eduardo Paes and Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike.

The focus then shifted from the current host city to its successor in 2020.

The event culminated with Japan, whose capital city Tokyo will play host to the next edition of the Games in 2020.The event culminated with Japan, whose capital city Tokyo will play host to the next edition of the Games in 2020.

As a choir of Rio children sang the Olympic anthem, the Olympic flag was then passed symbolically from Mr Paes, via the IOC President, to Ms Koike. 

The scene was thus set for Tokyo 2020 to take centre stage, as Sugar Loaf mountain gave way to Mount Fuji.

The central area of the stadium morphed into a huge Japanese flag, accompanied by the country’s national anthem. 

“Rio obrigado arigato” (thank you Rio in Portuguese and Japanese) read the giant message that appeared in the middle of the stadium, which was then repeated in dozens of other languages.

A film entitled “Warming up Tokyo 2020” then took us on a sporting and cultural excursion around the next host city.

It featured various Japanese sporting icons, and culminating with a surprise appearance from the country’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe.

Abe, running late to get from Tokyo to Rio, morphs into popular video game character ‘Super Mario’ and is then seen tunnelling between the two cities.

In a genius twist, the Prime Minister Abe actually then surfaced in the middle of the stage at the Maracana, in real life, prompting gasps around the stadium.

The stadium was then filled by a series of animated depictions of the thirty three sports that will feature at the Tokyo 2020 Games, the motto of which is “Discover Tomorrow”. 

These include no less than five new sports: baseball/softball, karate, sport climbing, skateboarding and surfing.

IOC President Thomas Bach was then joined in the centre of the stadium by Rio 2016 Organising Committee President Carlos Nuzman.

Nuzman described the latest edition of the Games as a victory for sport, which would stay with the host city for ever. 

In his closing address, IOC President Thomas Bach was fulsome in his praise for the host city: “We arrived in Brazil as guests. 

“Today we depart as your friends. You will have a place in our hearts forever,” said President Bach before switching to Portuguese: 

“Estes foram Jogos Olímpicos maravilhosos, na cidade maravilhosa! (These were marvellous Olympic Games in THE marvellous city!)

 

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